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„., ,.t ^, 




Good Society 



' ' There is no outward sign of good manners hut has a deep 
foundation in morals." — GoETHE 



1893 v/ 

All rights resert'td 

^ %o/^^- 

The Lady's Dressing-Ro< 

Translated from the Ftench ^BARONESS Staf 



Cassell 6* Company ^ Limited^ London^ Paris and Met 


It may be said that the books already published 
on the subject of " manners " and " etiquette " are 
sufficiently numerous for the wants of the com- 
munity; but to this remark we would reply, that 
although the broad principles of manners remain 
the same, yet the minutice are continually altering 
and varying, and modes of speech and action 
which were considered the height of politeness a 
few years ago would be pronounced, at any rate 
very old-fashioned if used and exhibited in the pre- 
sent day. As this is shown to be the case more 
fully in the Introduction, it is only necessary to 
state here for what purpose the subjects treated 
have been chosen, and why they have been placed 
in the order in which they will be found. 

Christenings, Weddings, and Funerals seem to 
be the subjects which stand most prominently for- 
ward in the catalogue of social observances, hal- 
lowed as they are by sacred rites and ceremonies ; 
attached to and consequent on these principal 
events are a host of minor circumstances, Which 
also demand attention. 

Birth — the commencement of life— with all its 
attendant ceremonies, is naturally the first subject 
considered. The next three or four chapters are 
devoted to a description of all the conventional 
forms and arrangements necessary to be known b.^ 

iv Preface. 

the neophyte on his or her entrance into socie 
Etiquette, Letter-Writing, Visiting, the Toilet 
a thorough knowledge of all these subjects \ 
save the timid maiden and the shy youth fr< 
awkward embarrassment when obliged to act 
their own responsibility. 

Then Marriage is considered, and consequent 
that all the onerous duties it entails on the mirr 
couple in their new position in life, as Host a 
Hostess ; the various ways in which they n 
show hospitality to their friends in connection w 
the table, by the giving of Breakfasts, Luncheo 
Dinners, Teas, and Suppers, which may be gr 
or small, grand or simple, according to the wisl 
and means of the donors themselves. 

The different amusements, in-door and open-j 
which may be provided for the entertainment 
their guests are next described, such as the arran 
ments necessary for Dances, Picnics, Private T 
atricals, Garden Parties, and sports of various kin 

Presentation at Court, the subject of the ni; 
teenth chapter, is an episode in the life of cc 
paratively few people, it is true ; but still it 
mands a place in this volume. The closing sc( 
of life, and the last sad offices performed by 
survivors, naturally form the subject of the fi 





The Existence of a Code of Manners in Early Times — 
Manners of the Last Century — Necessity of Good 
Manners— On Polish— ** A Gentleman "—"A 
Lady" — Titles of Honour—Heraldry 9—24 



Old Customs - Private Baptism — Public Baptism— God- 
parents — Christening Presents — The Christening — 
Confirmation — Age required— Preparation — Dress 
necessary — The Ceremony 25^34 



Origin of the Word " Etiquette '' — The Distinguishing 
Mark of Good Manners — Against Extreme Ceremony, 
Excessive Apologising, and Affectation — The Laws^^ 
of Introduction — Attentions to be paid by a Gentle- 
man to a Lady — Different Modes of Bowing and 
Shaking the Hand— The Walk— The Carriage- 
Conversation — Voice — Laughter — Inaccuracies of 
Speech — Laws of Precedency 35 — 52 



How to Write a Letter — **Pens, Ink, and Paper; 
Sealing-wax and Wafer " — Diflferent Forms of 
Invitation — Modes of Addressing Persons of 
ismiK ••• ••• ••• .•• ••. ... jj^""^* 


vi Contents, 



1 he Use of " Calling " — Occasions when Calls should 
be paid— The Card-case and its Contents — Cere- 
monies of Calls — Cake and Wine — Visits — Length 
of Visits — Conduct when Staying in a Friend^s 
House — Gratuities to Servants 62 — 



Neatness— Suitability — Style of Dress appropriate for 
Christenings — When paying Calls — At Garden 
Parties — Picnics— The Seaside — Lawn Tennis — 
Morning Dress — Dinner and Ball Dresses— Jewel- 
lery — Bride's Costume ; Bridesmaids' — Guests at a 
Wedding — Mourning — Man's Dress — As a Bride- 
groom — At Garden Parties — **Full Dress" — 
Jewellery — Hat and Gloves 75 — \ 



*• Things to be thought of" — Interview with Father-in- 
Law — Engagement Ring — Wedding Presents — Eti- 
quette of Courtship — The Bridesmaids — The Licence 
and Banns — Bridegroom's Presents to Bride and 
her Maids— Day before the Wedding — Wedding 
Day — Ceremony — Breakfast — Departure ... 90 ~ !< 



Variety of Household Appointments — A good Manager 
— Styles proper for different Rooms — Breakfast, 
Dining, and Drawing Rooms — " Best Rooms " — 
Temperature of Rooms — Laying the Table — List of 
Requisites for entertaining Twelve People 107 — I 



Eating and Drinking —Breakfasts in Particular— Break- 

Contents, vii 


fasts in the Olden Time — In the Present Day — IIow 
to Set the Table, and what to put on it — Wedding 
Breakfasts — Hunt and Sportsmen's Breakfasts — 
Breakfast Dishes for the different Seasons ... 115 — 123 



Manners at Table— What to place there, and how to 
place it — Hot Luncheons — Cold Luncheons 124 — 127 



*' The Dinner Question " — Dinner Tables of the last 
Ten Centuries— Good Cookery — Waiters — Invita- 
tions — W hom to Invite — Dinner en Fatnille and a 
la Russe — Carving — Table Appointments and Dec- 
orations — Arrival of Guests — The Dinner — Wines 
— Dessert — Retirement of the Ladies — Coffee — Tea 
— Departure 128 — 154 



High Teas — What to put on the Table — Arrangement 
of Drawing-room — Afternoon Teas ^ 55— ' 59 



Appointments of the Table— French Display— Our 
Supper Tables— Impromptu Suppers — Hot Sup- 
pers ... ... ... ... ••• ••• 100 — 164 



Public Balls— How to Manage them — Tickets — Intro- 
ductions — Duties of Stewards — Fancy Dress Balls 
— Private Balls — Rooms necessary — Music — Lights 
— Decorations — Cloak Rooms — Tea, Drawing, and 
Ball Rooms — Card Room — Duties of the Enter- 
tainers to their Guests — Of Partners to their Part- 
ners-^" Cinderella Dances " ... 165 — 176 


viii Contents. 



Charades — Tableaux Vivants — Wax-work Exhibitions 
— Private Theatricals 177 — 185 



Lawn Tennis Parties 186— 1S9 



Private Picnics — Conveyance of Guests and Provisions 
— Subscription Picnic — Election and Duties of a 
Manager —Provisions and Beverages ... 190 — 194 



Hunting — Shooting— Fishing —Boating — Tricycling — 
Skating ... ... ... ... ... ... 195 — 203 



Buckingham Palace — Who may be Presented — Court 
Dress — Rules and Regulations — The Drawing- 
Room — The Levee — The Irish Court — Court 
Mourning ... 203 — 209 



Things to be done immediately upon a Death — Old 
Customs— The Funeral —The Mourners— The Ser- 
vice—Reading of the Will— Inquiries by Friends— 
Acknowledgments— Sunday after the Funeral- 
Monuments 210—216 





The Existence of a Code of Manners in Early Times — Manners 
of the Last Century — Necessity of Good Manners — On 
Polish— **A Gentleman"— "A Lady "—Titles of Honour 
— Heraldry. 

••A man by nothing is so well bewrayed 
As by his manners, in which plaine is shewne 
Of what degree and what race he is growne." 

** Faerie Queene." 

From very early times a Decalogue — if we may be 
allowed to use the term — of Manners has existed. 
In the ** ancient bokes " of the Anglo-Saxons we 
find directions given to our ancestors what to do 
and what not to do. Their Norman successors, 
loo, though not distinguished for the politeness 
which is said to characterise their descendants, had 
their code of manners set forth ; and so down to 
the present day, through every successive age, the 
necessity for, and the importance of, an established 
form has been invariably recognised. But as the 
ideal of what constitutes true politeness is con- 
tinually changing, or rather, let us say, the modes 

lo Good SocietV. 

of showing politeness are continually changing — for 
the principle remains the same at all times and in 
all places — so there constantly arises a necessity 
for the revision of old rules and for setting forth 
the accepted code of manners for the present 

The gentlefolk of a few centuries back would 
prove rough guests at a modern dinner-table, how- 
ever carefully they observed the rules laid down. 
" Never set on fyshe, flesche, ne fowle, more than 
two fyngers and a thombe." Oar forefathers are 
also cautioned not to pick their teeth with " knife, 
strawe, nor stick"; nor to clean them on the table- 
cloth. To wipe the mouth on the table cloth was 
allowable, but not the nose or eyes ! In the reign 
of Stephen it was considered etiquette to cough very 
loud when entering a house, "for there may be 
something doing which you ought not to see." A 
guest at table is recommended "to keep his nails 
clean, for fear the fellow next him should be dis- 
gusted." There are many unmentionable habits 
spoken of as common which we should regard with 
unmitigated horror, but which the people of that 
day looked upon as ordinary and correct behaviour. 
Happily for us, time and civilisation have swept 
away all these rough-and-ready usages ; and it may 
be safely said that a man will now find his superiors 
more accessible, his equals more at their ease, and 
his inferiors more mannerly, than in the most 
golden age of the olden time. 

Even since the last century, manners have altered 
strangely. The great freedom then permitted, both 
in words and action, is no longer allowed. We 
need scarcely mention the well-known fact that , 
ordinary conversations were richly besprinkled with '" 


oaths by the " good old English gentlemen/' and 
gentlewomen too, if what is related of a certain 
Duchess of Marlborough be true. The story goes 
that she went to call upon Lord Mansfield on busi- 
ness, and, not finding him within, declined to leave 
her name. His lordship's secretary, in describing 
the unknown, said : " 1 could not make out, sir, 
who she was ; but she swore so dreadfully that she 
must be a lady of quality ! " And we read in Dr. 
Johnson's life — "This evening one of our mar- 
ried ladies, a lively, pretty little woman, good- 
humouredly sat down upon Dr. Johnson's knee, and, 
being encouraged by the company, put her hands 
round his neck and kissed him." As no note of 
exclamation follows the record of this incident, 
we are led to the conclusion that it was not re- 
garded as extraordinary or unbecoming. 

It was at as late a period as the last century, too, 
that the following violent fun was thought admis- 
sible : — A large strong table-cloth was spread on the 
upper steps of the staircase, and upon this cloth 
the ladies seated themselves in rows ; then the gen- 
tlemen took hold of the lower end, attempting to 
pull it downstairs. The ladies resisted with all 
their might. The contest invariably ended by the 
-cloth and the ladies being pulled down to the 
bottom of the stairs, "when," says the relater, 
"everything was found bruised but modesty." 

Then, if we turn from our own people and look 
at other nations, we find that they too have had 
their lessons to learn, and have learnt them. 

The Russian nobleman of to-day, with his 
polished, gentlemanly bearing and his studied 
politeness to superiors and inferiors alike, forms 
a strong contrast to his forefathers, who are said 

12 Good Society, 

to have "dropped both pearls and vermin as 
they walked along ! " and whom the great Catherine 
found it necessary to prohibit striking their wives in 
public ; while the wives were forbidden to wash out 
their mouths in the drinking glasses. 

In France also, the liome and centre of polite- 
ness and good-breeding, judging from the ex- 
periences of an English traveller, manners were not 
at one time equally refined. **At Madame Du 
Bocage's, a lady of high rank, the footman took 
the sugar in his fingers and threw it into my coffee. 
I was going to put it aside ; but hearing that it was 
made on purpose for me, I e'en tasted Thomas's 
fingers. The same lady would needs make tea 
a Panglaise* The spout of the teapot did not pour 
freely ; she bade the footman blow into it ! " We 
may exclaim, with Hannah More, " Are these the 
beings who are called polite ? " 

Enough has been said to show the wide difference 
which exists between ancient and modern manners 
and customs. In the following chapters we shall 
consider more minutely the present code of social 
laws which should regulate our external conduct 
and behaviour. 

For the present we may affirm that the maxim 
•* Manners makyth man " has the same force as 
ever. Goodness of heart, however boundless ; 
learning, however profound ; and accomplishments 
the most brilliant and varied, are not in them- 
selves sufficient to make us pleasant and agreeable 
members of society — a knowledge and practice of 
the laws of good-breeding must be added to make 
a perfect whole. Your character may be ines- 
timable ; but if you speak loudly, or with a vulgar 
twang, if you are boisterous in your behaviour, 

Introduction, 13 

and eschew les convenances of society, your best 
friends will — behind your back — lament that .you 
are so little endowed with manners, although ** an 
excellent creature.'' " Manners recommend, pre- 
pare, and draw people together; in all the clubs 
manners make the members; manners make the 
fortune of the ambitious youth — for the most part, 
his manners marry him, and he marries manners." 
The principal and groundwork of these laws is, 
that they tend to add materially to the happiness 
and comfort of those around us, smooth and soften 
the contact of the individual atoms which are in- 
cessantly coming against each other in the restless 
intercourse of the busy world, and add a charm to 
the quiet monotony of everyday life. Amid the 
multitude of thorns which encompass this daily life, 
^ every flower that will grow should be cultivated 
with care. Acts of attention and thoughtfulness 
shown to those around net only make their days 
pass more easily and happily, but at the same 
time ennoble the doer, and provoke a sweet return 
of kindly feeling and good-will. Lord Chesterfield, 
who, says Hannah More, "adorned conversation 
by his wit as much as he impaired it by his prin- 
ciples," has defined "politeness to be the art of 
^ pleasing." St. Paul, ** one of the few writers with 
^ whom this accomplished peer was not acquainted," 
remarks this censorious lady, recommends, with as 
much warmth as his lordship, the duty of pleasing 
his neighbour; but here the two moralists part com- 
pany. "The noble writer would have us please 
others to benefit ourselves; the Christian writer 
directs us to please others for their good. The 
essence of the worldly code of ethics is selfish- 
ness, that of the Christian is disinterestedness." 

14 Good Society, 

It is the opinion of a French writer* that " L 
vraie philosophic respecte les formes autant qu^^ 
Torgueil les d^daigne : il Yaut une discipline p9u: 
la conduite comme il faut un ordre pour les idecs* 
(True philosophy respects forms as much as prid^ 
despises them : we require a discipline for our con^ 
duct, just as we require an order for our ideas). 

It is said by foreigners, in speaking generally of 
the English, that we as a nation lack, what is called 
polish; but they assign to us the character of 
solidity. Now, hard, solid bodies are those that 
take the highest polish. The material, then, is 
fine, hard, and close, delicate and good ; and 
English men and women, if they so will it, may 
shine like mirrors to the rest of the world. Only 
let them be careful not to mistake varnish for 
polish. It is only soft bodies, which admit of little 
polish, that require the former, and it is applied to 
hide all flaws and to conceal the meanness of the 
material beneath its surface. But, however thickly 
it may be laid on, the false covering will chip here 
and there, and the gloss will only be superficial, 
and will never, in reality, equal that of true polish 
of the grain. 

Gentlemen and ladies— how much those words 
are abused! what various twisted and deformed 
ideas are connected in different persons' minds with 
those words ! What more common expression among 
the vulgar than " He's quite the gentleman," " She 
is a real lady," and yet what various meanings are at- 
tached to them? Sometimes high birth is denoted ; 
sometimes perfect manners; sometimes merely 
wealth ; the fact of living an idle life, or profuse 

* Portalis. 

Intro D uction, i 5 

liberality. This last is the idea of the poor, i^ho 
almost invariably measure a man or woman by the 
tightness or looseness of their purse-strings, and term 
them gentleman or lady accordingly. Originally a 
gentleman was defined to be one who, "without 
any title of nobility, wears a coat-of-aims, or whose 
ancestors have been freed men." By-and-by two 
other classes crept into the circle. A iran could 
be a g( ntleman by office and in reputation as well 
as those who were bom such. According to Black- 
stone — " Whosoever studieth the laws of the realm, 
who studieth in the universities, who professeth the 
liberal sciences, and who can live idly and without 
n anual labour, and well bear the port, charge, and 
countenance of a gentleman, he shall be called 
master and taken for a gentleman." But in the 
present day these three distinctions of birth, educa- 
tion, or weahh alone do not entitle their possessors 
to bear the "grand old name of gentleman." 
Something else must be added to make the perfect 
whole. ** To have pride of gentrie is right gret 
folie, for oft time the gentrie of the bodie bemireth 
the gentrie of the soule ; and we ben al of o fader 
and of o moder," says Chaucer. 

" Tlie rank is but the guinea stamp, 
The man's the gowd for a' that," 

sings the Scottish bard in those often-quoted lines; 
and there is much fine gold without the stamp, no 
doubt. Yet we by no means wish to underrate the 
value of gentle birth and blood. Race tells in man 
as in any other animal, but it must not be con- 
sidered as the only thing requisite. A man cannot 
say, " I am well-born, and therefore I am a gentle- 
man." Neither will education stand alone. The 

1 6 Good Society. 

head may be well stored with learning, the whole of 
the sciences may be " professed/' and all the laws 
of the realm studied, and still a man may not have 
that within him which is essential to the claim of 
being a gentleman. 

Wealth —ay, even the wealth of the Indies — is 
also futile in itself. Riches compass many things, 
but not this. A man may possess broad acres, and 
be surrounded with all the luxuries that money can 
command, and yet may be clothed in vulgarity, and 
steeped in vice from top to toe. Shall we desig- 
nate such a one as " a gentleman " ? What are the 
qualities, then, necessary to give a claim to this 
title ? This is Chaucer's test — 

" Whoso is vertuous, 
And in liis path not outrageous, 
When such one thou seest thee befome 
Though he be not gentil borne, 
Thou mayst well sein (this is in sothe) 
That he is gentil because he dothe 
As longeth to a gentil man." 

The different classes of the order of gentlemen 
are thus quaintly described by another old writer. 
He divides them under the heads of "Gentle 
gentle," " Gentle ungentle," and " Ungentle gentle" : 
— " The gentle gentle are those of noble birth, who 
join to their gentle house gentle manners and noble 
conditions, which is the cause of the other word 
called gentle. Gentle ungentle is that man which 
is descended of noble parentage, by the which he 
is commonly called gentle, and hath in him such 
corrupt ungentle manners as to the judgment of 
all men he justly deserveth the name of ungentle. 
Ungentle gentle is he which is born of a low 
degree, which man, taking his beginning of a poor 

Introd uction, 1 7 

kindred, by his virtue, wit, policy, industry, know- 
ledge of laws, and such like honest means, be- 
cometh a well-behaved and high-esteemed man." 
Thackeray defines a gentleman to be one ** who is 
honest, gentle, generous, brave, and wise; who 
possesses all these qualities and exercises them in 
the most graceful outward manner." 

Qualities such as these are not the mere accident 
of birth, nor the invariable accompaniments of 
wealth. None of them necessarily endow a man 
with delicacy of feeling, kindness of heart, court- 
eousness of manner to his fellow-man — be he 
peer or peasant — chivalrousness to all women, 
in short, that fineness of nature so admirably 
delineated by Ruskin. " A gentleman's first char- 
acteristic," he says, " is that fineness of structure 
in the body which renders it capable of the most 
delicate sensation, and of that structure of the 
mind which renders it capable of the most delicate 
sympathies, or, as one may simply say, fineness 
of nature. 

"This is, of course, compatible with heroic bodily 
strength and mental firmness ; in fact, heroic bodily 
strength is not conceivable without such delicacy. 
Elephantine strength may drive its way through a 
forest and feel no touch of its boughs, but the white 
skin of Homer's Atrides would have felt a bent 
rose-leaf, yet subdue its feelings in the glow of battle, 
and behave itself like iron. I do not mean," 
continues the writer, " to call the elephant a vulgar 
animal ; but if you think about him carefully, you 
will find that his non-vulgarity consists in such gen- 
tleness as is possible to elephantine nature ; not 
in his insensitive hide, nor in his clumsy foot, but 
in the way he will lift his foot if a child lies in his 


1 8 Good Society, 

way, and in his sensitive trunk, and his still more 
sensitive mind and capability of pique in points of 
honour. Hence it will follow that one of the pro- 
bable signs of high breeding in men generally will 
be their kindness and mercifulness — these always 
indicate more or less firmness of make in the 

But we must e'en turn our attention to the '* lady " 
— who has been for so long a time kept waiting, 
while the opposite sex were criticised and scrutinised 
— and see how the true gentlewoman may be distin- 
guished from the counterfeit. If it be true, as the 
French say, that — 

' ' Les hommes font les lois, 
Les femmes font les pioeurs," * 

it is, indeed, highly necessary to decide what quali- 
ties are necessary to make " a perfect woman." 

Women in their course of action describe a 
smaller circle than men, but *^ the perfection of a 
circle consists not in its dimensions, but in its cor- 
rectness," says the logical Hannah More. 

A true lady will be quite natural and easy in her 
manners, and this will have the effect of putting 
those at their ease who are in her company, what- 
ever their station in life may be. She will shrink from 
all affectation and avoid all pretension, and never 
try, by any means, to appear other than she really 
is. She will be courteous to all around her, modest 
but not awkwardly bashful; brave, without being 
in the slightest degree bold .or masculine ; defer- 
ential and reverential to the aged, cheerful and 
lenient to the young ; in fact, she will not only try 

* De S^gur. 


" to make men happy and to keep them so," but 
every living creature around her. 

A quiet dignity will pervade all her actions. She 
is one who — 

" Hath a natural wise sincerity, 
A simple truthfulness, and these have lent her 
A dignity as moveless as the centre." 

Her good manners will be in daily use, and not 
donned and doffed with company dress, and more 
especially a lady will never attempt to patronise in 
the slightest degree. 

A high-bred gentlewoman will never be proud 
and haughty in her demeanour to others, but there 
are those " who with haughty steps would walk the 
globe o'er the necks of humbler ones." 

We once saw a so-called lady at a London fete 
asked by another lady, who was on the point of 
fainting from the heat, to pass a glass of water. 
The fashionably dressed and splendidly jewelled 
woman regarded the suppliant with a haughty and 
indignant stare, for presuming to ask her to perform 
a menial act, and immediately moved away. 

It is a very mibtaken notion, and yet one held by 
many, although perhaps not confessed, that a lady 
demeans herself by manual labour, and that if she 
wishes to keep her title to the name, she must lead 
an aimless, useless, idle life. Now our ways and 
habits have been so gradually altered by civilisa- 
tion that ladies do lead very different lives from 
their ancestresses. Here is the account of the 
manner in which Elizabeth Woodville, born in a 
very high station, and afterwards wife of King 
Edward IV., was accustomed to spend an ordinary 
day : — " Rose at four o'clock, and helped Catherine 
to milk the cows. Six o'clock, breakfasted ; the 
B 2 

20 Good Society. 

buttock of beef too much boiled, and the beer a 
little of the stalest Seven, went to walk with the 
lady my mother in the courtyard. Ten, went to 
dinner. Eleven, rose from table, the company all 
desirous of walking in the fields. Four, went to 
prayers. Six, fed the hogs and poultry. Seven, 
supper on the table. Nine o'clock, the com- 
pany fast asleep — these late hours are very dis- 

English ladies of the nineteenth century are not 
expected to milk cows and feed pigs, but if circum- 
stances obliged them to do these or any other 
similar acts of labour, what we would impress on 
our readers' minds is that they would not neces- 
sarily cease to be " ladies " in the proper sense of 
the word. " She openeth her mouth with wisdom, 
and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She 
looketh well to the ways of her household, and 
eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children 
arise up and call her blessed, her husband also, and 
he praiseth her." 

We may here mention, en passant^ the " titles of 
honour " borne by certain classes of gentlefolk, and 
the different degrees of rank which exist. Titles 
of honour are designations which certain persons 
are entitled to claim as their right, in consequence 
of certain dignities being inherent to them. They 
vary according to the rank of their possessor. The 
titles of Emperor, King, and Prince denominate 
the highest rank ; then come the orders of the 
nobility, which are five in number, namely — Duke, 
Marquis, Earl, Viscount, and Baron. All these 
dignities are hereditary, and the wives and children 
of peers have likewise their appropriate titles of 
honour. Another dignity which brings with it the 

Introduction, 21 

right to a title of honour is a Baronetcy — and this, 
too, IS hereditary. Below the Baronet comes the 
Knight, but Knighthood is not hereditary; it expires 
with the life of the possessor, and does not descend 
to the heir as do all the other titles. In this last 
category may be placed ecclesiastical dignities — 
academical, legal, and municipal distinctions — which 
have their several titles of honour pertaining to their 
offices, but like that of knighthood do not descend. 
Mention must also be made of the title of Esquire, 
although the general use of it by those who are not 
strictly speaking entitled to it has virtually destroyed 
it as a distinctive dignity. Those to whom it legally 
Jbelongs are — the eldest sons of Knights, and the 
eldest sons of younger sons of the nobility, by virtue 
of birth. Justices of the Peace, Officers of the 
Queen's Court and Household, and of Her Majesty's 
Navy and Army, by virtue of office. Doctors of 
Law, Barristers, and Physicians are reputed Es- 
quires ; but at the present time this line of de- 
marcation is growing every day more faint, and the 
title of Esq. is used as a mere ** title of courtesy " 
given to every gentleman of presumed respecta- 
bihty, and though it may be occasionally abused, 
there can be no doubt that it is on the whole ex- 
ceedingly convenient The various and proper 
forms for addressing persons of different degrees of 
rank will be given in a following chapter. 

We are now brought to the subject of Heraldry. 
Heraldry has been stigmatised as "a science of 
fools with long memories"; it should rather be 
designated as a study which, properly directed, 
would make fools wise. Heraldry is the art of 
arranging and explaining in proper terms all that 
appertains to the bearing of coats- of-arms or 

2 2 Good Society. 

badges, and other hereditary or assumed marks of 

The twelfth century is the earliest period to which 
can be traced the bearing of heraldic devices pro- 
perly so called, and they became hereditary about 
the commencement of the following century. 

Heraldry owes its origin to the Crusades. Dur- 
ing these memorable wars, the principal leaders of 
the different armies found it necessary to be dis- 
tinguished by some outward sign, so that amidst 
the confusion and tumult of battle a friend could 
be detected from a foe, in spite of the close-fitting 
disguise of armour worn by all alike. And so a 
device was placed upon the shield which at that 
time was always carried to battle. The various 
distinctive coats-of-arms — birthrights of our nobility, 
of which there are five orders — are displayed on 
shields, escutcheons, or banners. There is another 
sign of gentle birth, the crest. This is next to the 
shield in point of antiquity. It was originally the 
ornament worn upon the helmet in the far-oif days 
of which we have been speaking. I^<;tly, there 
are mottoes. These trace their origin to those 
same days of chivalry, and were the war-cries of 
the different knights. 

When a man marries he impales his wife's pater- 
nal arms by placing them upright on the left side 
of his own in the same escutcheon. If his wife be 
an heiress the husband may bear her arms on an 
escutcheon over his own. The children retain only 
the father's coat-of-arms, unless they inherit pro- 
perty from their mother likewise. 

A story is related of a lady who wished to die 
before her husband, because if he died first she 
could not put his coat-of-arms on his tomb, he 

Introduction, 2^ 

being not a man of family ; " but," said she, " if I 
die first he can claim a right of placing my arms on 
my tomb, because I am a woman of quality by birth." 

The arms of a widow are composed of her hus- 
band's and her father's impaled within a lozenge. 
Those of a maiden lady are her father's only, borne 
in a lozenge also. Ladies are not allowed the use 
of crests. 

If the husband be a Knight of the Garter or of 
any other order, the arms of the wife must not be 
impaled, but placed in a separate shield. 

Heraldic devices have been called the hall-marks 
of the nobility, but in the present day these ancient 
prerogatives have been usurped and appropriated 
by ignorant yet aspiring people, and sold over and 
over again by unscrupulous traders who minister to 
the bad taste of would-be gentlefolk. 

It is a cause for great regret that such a noble 
science as that of heraldry should be allowed to be 
open to the mercy of charlatans, who arrange and 
blazon coats-of-arms at complete variance with 
personal history and in violation of all precedent. 

It is considered a misdemeanour, and punished as 
such, to infringe on a merchant's mark, and yet the 
marks of our nobility are purloined continually by 
those who only bear the name of the family and 
cannot trace the faintest line of their descent 

" Crests is my leading article, but I do deal in 
'scutcheons," once said a " professor " of heraldry 
who kept a " studio." " They come for cheap crests 
as advertised ; but when I once get them in my 
rt!it.6\veal office, under the influence of a dim re- 
ligious light through stained glass— to sit in my 
antique chairs and behold my libary^ presided over 
by an old suit of armour — it is all * up ' with them. 

^4 Good SocietV. 

and they take anything." Crests are the portions 
most affected, but shields and mottoes are daily 

There are shops where a busy trade goes on in 
sales of this description. You state your name, 
and have no need for any anxiety on the subject. 
A crest is sure to be discovered. If your name 
happens to be a noble one, you have all the more 
for your money. "Russell, did you say, sir? a 
very noble crest — gozX passant. Sketch, ten shil- 
lings and sixpence ; with casque and mantling in 
proper colours, one guinea and a half ; illuminated 
in vellum, two guineas," and so on ; proving the 
assertion that in this brazen age anything can be 
got with money. 



"Old Customs" — Private Baptism — Public Baptism — God- 
parents — Christening Presents-.-The Christening — Con- 
firmation — Age Required — Preparation — Dress Necessary 
— The Ceremony. 

• ' It might have been seven o'clock in the evening when Mr. 
Kenwigs sent out for a pair of the cheapest white kid gloves — 
those at one shilling and twopence per pair— and, selecting the 
strongest, walked down-stairs with an air of pomp and much 
excitement, and proceeded to muffle the knob of the street-door 
knocker therein." — ** Aickolas NickUby,^' 

The ceremony performed by Mr. Kenwigs would 
greatly excite the cunosity of passers-by nowadays, 
and any proud father who ventured to imitate him 
would be regarded as an exceedingly eccentric 
gentleman, if nothing more ; but at one time it was 
considered quite the " correct thing " to clothe the 
knocker in white kid on the birth of a child, and 
the little Kenwigs was by no means the only infant 
whose advent was announced in this manner. Of 
course the original purpose was to deaden the 
noise made by impatient postmen and other callers. 
Thus it answered two purposes. At Haarlem 
and some other Dutch towns the arrival of a little 
Hollander is proclaimed by means of a small 

26 Good Society, 

placard which is adorned with red silk and lace ; 
this is affixed to the door of the house, and when 
the friends and neighbours, being thus apprised, 
call to pay their respects to the mother and inspect 
the new-comer, they are regaled with mulled wine 
and cinnamon cakes. 

Formerly in this country the friends who, directiy 
the news reached them, called to offer their con- 
gratulations were entertained on these occasions 
with caudle, which is a kind of spiced gruel flavoured 
with rum. The cups out of which this refreshment 
was partaken were made for and used only on these 
special occasions. They were of china and had 
two handles, one on either side, so that the gossips 
could easily pass them on from one to the other 
" when so dispoged." 

Caudle cups were often handed down as heir- 
looms, and as such were highly prized by our 
ancestresses, who made much more stir and "to-do " 
on these occasions than is now the custom. Then 
there was the " gentlemen's party " — this took place 
at a later date. At the end of a fortnight, if mother 
and child were doing well, it was the custom for 
the husband to entertain his particular friends. 
Both bachelors and Benedicts were invited to eat 
** sugared toast," which, as the cookery books say, 
was thus prepared : — 

"Rounds of bread toasted, and each stratum 
spread thick with moist sugar ; these were piled up 
in a portly punch bowl. Strong beer was in the 
meantime heated, and poured boiling hot over the 
mound of bread.'' 

This " Gothic mess " was taken immediately to 
the expectant guests and quickly demolished. At 
the conclusion of the repast each visitor put a 

Birth, 27 

piece of money into the empty bowl, and the con- 
tents were presented to the — for the time being — 
ruler of the household, the " nurse." Often, too, 
good strong ale was brewed, or a pipe of wine laid 
by, to be drunk on the majority of the child. 

Times are changed, old customs and ceremonies 
have in great measure gradually died out, and no 
new ones seem to have arisen in place of them. 
An event of this kind calls forth very few cere- 
monies nowadays ; yet these must be observed in 
due order and according to the fashion of the time. 

Some doctors expect the fee on these occasions 
immediately after the birth ; others make a stated 
charge for attendance during the illness and receive 
their fee when they cease to attend at the house. 

Friends and acquaintances either call and leave 
or send their cards by their servants, with kind 
inquiries, but the mother and child are not disturbed 
in their seclusion until the former acknowledges the 
kindness and courtesy of her friends, and announces 
her reappearance in society by sending her card in 
return. It is usual to fix for the christening to take 
place, if possible, as soon as the mother is well 
enough to go out, when her infant is about a month 

In days gone by, this rite was performed when 
the child was but three days old. King Edward VI. 
and his sisters were baptised at that early age, and 
the ceremony — which lasted between two and three 
hours — took place at night by torch-light. The 
child was carried under a canopy, preceded by 
' gentlemen bearing in state the sponsors' gifts, and 
attended by flourish of trumpets. 

Altogether the royal christenings of those days 
must have been most fatiguing and venturesome 

28 Good Society. 

proceedings — at any rate, to the mother; for though 
she did not accompany her child to the chapel, 
she was removed on to a state pallet, where she 
received congratulations, and whence the pro- 
cession started. That it was the general custom 
for the baptism to take place very soon after the 
birth may be gathered from Mr. Pepys, who 
writes in his voluminous Diary — " We went to Mrs. 
Brown's, where Sir W. Pen and I were godfathers, 
and Mrs. Jordan and Slopman were godmothers. 
And there, before and after the christening, we 
were with the woman above in her chamber. I 
did give the midwife ten shillings, and the nurse 
five shillings, and the maid two shillings. But, 
inasmuch as I expected to give the name to the 
child, but did not, I forbore then to give my plate 
which I had in my pocket, namely, six spoons and 
a porringer of silver." 

If an infant is feeble when born, and not ex- 
pected to live, the rite of baptism is at once per- 
formed privately in the room in which the child is. 
In cases of extreme necessity, where the assistance 
of a clergyman cannot be procured, any person 
may baptise the child. I^y baptism is an irregu- 
larity, not a nullity. Should a child die before 
being baptised, it may be interred in consecrated 
ground, but the burial service of the Church cannot 
legally be read over its grave. 

If the child lives, it is subsequently " received " 
into the Church, and then receives its sponsors. 
Baptism should be performed in the parish in which 
the child is born. The selection of godparents is 
often a matter of considerable delicacy and diffi- 
culty ; for many people are reluctant to accept the 
office, while others again, who think they have a 

Birth. 29 

strong claim to the honour, are offended if they are 

Formerly there were two godfathers and two god- 
mothers. Now, if the infant be a boy, he has two 
godfathers and one godmother ; and if a girl, then 
the order is reversed. The godparents are chosen 
from the relatives and friends of the parents. For 
the first-born the sponsors should be near relatives, 
preference being given to the father's family. It is 
not advisable to choose elderly people for this 
office; for, although its duties are supposed to 
cease with confirmation, yet the association often 
lasts a lifetime, and kindly help and counsel may 
be given in later days by the godparent to the god- 
child, should the battle of life prove hard, should 
parents die, or friends depart. At a baptism which 
took place in 1744, the sponsors must have been 
very aged relatives, judging from their kinship to 
the infant. Its godmothers were three in number 
— its great-great-grandmother, great-grandmother, 
and great-great-great-aunt. Its great-great-great- 
great-uncle and two of its great-great-uncles were 
the godfathers. 

There is not much variety in the choice of the 
christening presents. The old-fashioned gift of 
" knife, fork, and spoon " has given place to what is 
more useful — a silver basin and spoon, which in 
babyhood holds bread and milk, and afterwards 
serves as a sugar bowl. But the silver mug and 
handsomely-bound Bible still hold their ground. 
A set of coral beads was formerly a common gift, 
more especially to a " baby-girl." Coral was 
deemed to possess certain valuable properties most 
beneficial to children ; not only was it good to rub 
their gums with, but it also had the power of 

30 Good Society, 

preserving them from the "falling sickness'*; for we 
are assured that the best coral "worn about the 
neck will turn pale and wan if the child who wears 
it be sick, and comes to its former colour again as 
its wearer recovers health." 

We lately heard of a godfather, evidently of a 
practical turn of mind, who, considering the ordi- 
nary kind of presents more ornamental than useful, 
bought for his little godson some shares in a mine 
to the amount that he would have spent on him in 
a silversmith's shop. It is not usual to consult the 
sponsors as to the choice of the name ; but when 
the parents are desirous to pay a special compli- 
ment to one or other of the godparents, they give 
their child the same name as that borne by the 

The christening ceremony, as appointed by the 
Church of England (of which we are now speaking), 
sometimes takes place during divine service, but 
generally speaking is performed by itself and in the 

The day being fixed, all interested assemble at 
the church appointed. The officiating clergyman, 
followed by the sponsors and the nurse and child, 
proceeds to the font. As at a wedding, it is now 
customary for only those who have some office 
assigned them to form the principal group. The 
father and mother, and any other friends who may 
be present, take their seats in pews near to the 

The child is held by the godmother during the 
first part of the service, and she places it on the left 
arm of the clergyman when he is ready to receive 
it. When he says the words, " Name this child," 
the chief godfather should pronounce it audibly 

Birth, 31 

and distinctly. The nurse, who should stand on 
the clergyman's right hand — the godmother on his 
left — takes the child from him, and the service pro- 
ceeds to its conclusion. 

The father accompanies the clergjman to the 
vestry after the service, in order to give particulars 
necessary for registration, and also to distribute the 
proper fees. 

Legally, none can be claimed for a baptism, but 
custom has established the practice. The amount 
bestowed depends very much upon the ideas of the 
donor. Sometimes the clergyman receives a bank- 
note, sometimes one or two guineas, according to 
the means and position of the parents. In London 
these ceremonials are most expensive — so many 
persons appear on the scene, all of whom expect 
gratuities. The beadle and the sexton, the woman 
who sweeps inside the church and the man who 
sweeps outside, the pew-opener and the clerk, are 
all ready with itching palms. 

The rite of churching generally takes place 
immediately before that of the christening. The 
clergyman is requested to be at the church a short 
time before the hour appointed for the christening; 
and the churching service, which is but a short one, 
takes place before the sponsors arrive. 

It will be seen that here, as well as in other 
chapters, the ceremonial of the Church of England 
has been taken for an example and alone described. 
It need hardly be remarked that the baptismal 
service is performed by other religious denomina- 
tions according to other rites ; but as it would 
be impossible in a book of this description to 
attempt to describe the many different forms, one 
only has been cited, as in every case, though the 

$2 Good Society, 

religious ceremonials differ, the social usages are 

The entertainments given on the christening day 
are various. Sometimes, when it takes place in a 
morning, the guests return to luncheon ; sometimes 
thdy separate at the church door, and meet again 
in the evening at a dinner party given in honour of 
the young stranger. Whatever the festivity, the 
officiating clergyman is always invited, and the baby 
is exhibited either before or after the repast in all 
the splendour of its christening robe. The presents 
are often given at this time ; sometimes they are 
sent afterwards. During the dinner the infant's 
health is proposed; and at dessert a christening 
cake, which closely resembles a wedding cake, 
appears, bearing a flag on which is emblazoned 
the name of the hero of the day. A small portion 
is often put safely away, to be eaten in after years 
by the one whose nativity is thus celebrated. A 
piece of cake and bottle of wine are sent out to the 
servants, who fully expect to drink the little one's 

The nurse, too, generally receives a present on 
these occasions — a piece of money is slipped into 
her hand ; and then again, when she takes the child 
for the first time to the houses of the friends of its 
parents to exhibit it, it has been usual to give her 
a present of money. In some parts the child is 
offered a gift of salt and an egg for good luck; 
special care being taken that the young pilgrim 
makes its first visit to the house of a near relative 
or particular friend, so that the ceremony will not 
be omitted or forgotten ; for superstition says that 
if the ceremony be neglected, the infant will be 
exposed during life to the miseries of want 

Birth, 33 

Confirmation is, as it were, the sequel to baptism. 
The age at which bishops accept candidates for 
this rite is from fourteen to fifteen years. 

Notices of confirmation to be held are always 
given out in the diflferent churches some weeks 
prior to the event, and persons desirous of being 
admitted to the rite are requested to make known 
their wish, and to give in iheir names to their 
respective clergymen. 

Classes are formed, and instruction and prepara- 
tion given, during the weeks preceding the day 
which the bishop has appointed. At the hour 
named, the candidates, having previously received 
from their clergyman a card on which is written his 
or her name, and signed by their instructor, as a 
certificate that they have been prepared for the 
solemn service, proceed to the church in which the 
ceremony is to take place. 

The young girls should be dressed in white. 
A high white dress, without shawl or jacket, 
and a white veil or cap, and white gloves, is the 
proper costume. If a veil is worn, it must be a 
simple square of white tulle falling equally over the 
front and back. Great simplicity should be ob- 
served in the dress for confirmation. The youths 
wear black suits, black ties and gloves. They are 
placed on one side of the church, and the maidens 
on the other. 

When the time arrives for the laying-on of hands, 
the girls go first, either by two and two, or more, as 
may be the custom of the bishop. They give their 
card or certificate into the hands of the bishop's 
chaplain, who stands near to receive them. The 
candidates kneel down before the bishop, who lays 
his hand severally on their heads. When the short 

34 Good Society. 

prayer repeated by him while doing so is finished, 
they rise from their knees and return to their seats. 
After all have been confirmed the bishop usually 
deUvers a short address, which concludes the 



Origin of the word " Etiquette" — The Distinguishing Mark 
of Good Manners — Against Extreme Ceremony, Ex- 
cessive Apologising, and Affectation — The Laws of 
Introduction — Attentions to be paid by Gentlemen to a 
Lady — The Different Modes of Bowing and Shaking the 
Hand — The Walk — Carriage — Conversation — Voice — 
Laughter — Inaccuracies of Speech — Laws of Precedency. 

" I am the very pink of courtesy." 


" Those graceful acts, 
Those thousand decencies, that daily flow 
From all her words and actions." 


Centuries ago the word ** etiquette " conveyed to 
those who used it a far diflferent signification than 
to us of the present day. The word— an Anglo- 
Norman one — originally specified the ticket tied to 
the necks of bags or affixed to bundles to denote 
their contents. A bag or bundle thus ticketed 
passed unchallenged. 

Our ancestors, as we have seen, had their codes 
of manners. The chief rules of these forms of 
behaviour were written or printed upon cards or 
tickets, and thus the word "etiquette" gradually 

36 Good Society. 

came to mean what we understand by it. Hence 
the modern slang phrase, "the ticket," is not so 
meaningless as it would seem to be. 

Before beginning with the specialities of etiquette, 
let me remark that the first and great characteristic 
of what is called good-breeding is perfect ease of 
manner and the absence of 2l\\ fUssiness. Whatever 
the company we may be thrown into, whatever the 
circumstances, this quiet ease should never be 
allowed to forsake us, neither diverging into un- 
bending stiffness on the one hand, nor into too 
much familiarity on the other. Perfect politeness 
requires presence of mind, a quick sense of pro- 
priety, and an ability to form an instantaneous 
judgment of what is fittest to be said and done on 
every occasion as it offers. " II me semble que 
Tesprit de politesse est une certaine attention k 
faire que, par nos paroles et nos mani^res, les 
autres soient contents de nous et d'eux-memes " 
(I consider the spirit of politeness to be one 
which will govern our behaviour, so that by our 
words and actions others may be pleased with us 
and with themselves) is the opinion of Montes- 
quieu. In our endeavours to be polite, we must 
be careful not to run into any extremes, but bear 
in mind that good manners show themselves where 
to the vulgar eye they are the least observable. 
Extreme ceremony is only the caricature of good- 
breeding; it produces contempt and embarrassment, 
not respect and ease. 

As an instance of the absurdity of extreme punc- 
tilio, I may relate one which occurred in Spain. 
On the death of a certain queen of that nation, the 
officers of the crown and grandees of the kingdom 
assembled at the usual time to open her Majesty's 

EtiquettK and Social ObserP-ancMs, 37 

will ; but finding that the first lady of the queen's 
chamber, who ought by virtue of her office to have 
been present, was absent, the august body sent a 
messenger requesting her attendance. The first 
lady replied that it was her duty not to leave her 
deceased royal mistress, and that therefore the 
nobles must wait upon her. Thereupon ensued a 
negotiation which lasted no less than eight hours. 
As both sides remained inflexible, it was proposed 
that without rising from their seats or moving them- 
selves, they should be carried to a room at an equal 
distance between their own apartment and that of 
the Lady High Chamberlain, who . should be also 
carried to the same place, seated upon a high 
cushion in the same manner as she had sat in the 
queen's chamber, to the end that it might be said 
that neither side had made a step to meet each 
other. This ludicrous compromise was actually 
carried out. 

If a person of higher rank desires you to step 
first into a carriage, it is better to bow and obey 
than to decline. Addison remarks, " A polite 
country squire shall make you as many bows in 
half an hour as would serve a courtier for a week''; 
"and there is," says the same writer, "infinitely 
more to-do about place and precedency in a 
meeting of justices' wives than in an assembly of 

Thus, we should not constantly repeat the name 
of anyone with whom we may be talking, nor 
should we make an excessive use of titles when 
conversing with people of rank. Tittlebat Tit- 
mouse exposed his ignorance of the habits of good 
society, not only by his flurried manner and great 
anxiety to. show what the French call des petits soins^ 


38 Good SociMtV, 

but also in his mode of talking with his noble 
host — " Oh, yes, my lord ; quite so, your lordship ; 
wouldn't have been behind time, your lordship, for 
a minute, my lord," &c. &c. 

At the same time be it remembered that the 
other extreme must be guarded against — familiarity, 
too, "breeds contempt." it is only against the 
constant repetition of title or name that we utter 
a protest. Gentlemen and gentlewomen of the last 
century invariably addressed one another as Madam 
and Sir ; the terms are now obsolete in ordinary 
conversation. An occasional interpolation of the 
name of the person with whom we are conversing 
is what is required, and more especially if we 
should happen to dissent in any degree, to con- 
tradict or to affirm. 

For instance, ** Do you think so ? '' "I believe 
I am right,'' would sound brusque if not rude ; but 
attach the name, and see what a different effect, 
and how softened the sentences appear: "Do 
you think so. Lady Penrose ? " "I believe I am 
right, Mr. Brown." 

In speaking to a king or queen we address them 
as Your Majesty — other members of the Royal 
Family, as " Sir," or " Madam," and Your Royal 
Highness. A Duke or Duchess is addressed in 
ordinary conversation as " Duke " or " Duchess " ; 
while a marquis or marchioness, or any of the 
nobility of lower rank, would be spoken to, with- 
out distinction of their special titles, as Lord 
So-and-So or Lady So-and-So. 

Descending in the scale of titles, I would, in 
passing, remark that it is not etiquette to address 
those who possess such titles as Colonel, Captain, 
Doctor, &c., by such designations only, but to 

Etiquette and Social Observances, 39 

append their respective surnames, and also that 
nothing is more objectionable than to hear ladies 
speak of gentlemen by their surnames only, or 
juveniles address their parents as " Pa " and " Ma,*' 
after the fashion of the Misses Pecksniff. For 
"grown-up" children, the terms "Father" and 
"Mother" are more becoming than "Papa" or 
"Mamma." The pronoun "my" should be used 
in speaking of relatives generally, as " My father 
says so," " My uncle told me." 

Apologising, again, is constantly carried to an 
ill-bred extreme. Numerous, profound, and re- 
iterated apologies have the effect of making every 
one within hearing of them remarkably uncomfort- 
able, and particularly the one who receives them. 
" Apologising," says a modern author,* " is a very 
desperate habit, and one that is rarely cured." 
As it is ill mannered to express too much regret, 
so it is the essence of rudeness not to make any 
apology. Should you have the misfortune to injure 
either the person or the feelings of your neighbour, 
the formal " I beg your pardon " should be accom- 
panied by an effort to prove the sincerity of the 
words, though it need not take the practical form 
given it by the poor Tittlebat Titmouse before 
alluded to, who, when he broke a glass dish, 
turned first to his host and then to his hostess 
with profuse apologies, and at the same time 
assured them that he would replace it with the 
best in London the very first thing in the 

Let me now say a few words upon affectation, 
by which I mean the adoption of peculiarities of 

* O. W. Holmes. 

46 Good Society 

speech, action, and demeanour which are nol 
natural. " La moindre affectation est un vice," 
says Voltaire. Oddities and singularities may 
attend genius, but when they do so they are its 
misfortunes and its blemishes. For instance, while 
we admire the wisdom of Dr. Johnson, we cannot 
hold up his manners as an example to be followed. 
Here is a description — " In the intervals of arti- 
culation he made various sounds with his mouth, 
sometimes as if ruminating, or what is called chew- 
ing the cud, sometimes giving a half-whistle, or 
making his tongile play backwards from the roof 
of his mouth, as if clucking like a hen ] and when 
exhausted by much talking he would blow out his 
breath like a whale." Now, although this gross 
behaviour could never become the fashion, yet 
other practices are adopted which have quite as 
little grace and elegance about them, and, not 
being natural to the individual who assumes them, 
destroy that ease of manner which it is so essential 
to attain. It is curious to notice that a description 
written in the seventeenth century of the various 
forms of affectation then in vogue is singularly 
applicable to the present day. ** At one time it 
was fashionable to be short-sighted ; a man would 
not own an acquaintance until he had first ex- 
amined him through a (an eye) glass. The age 
no sooner recovered its sight than the blind were 
succeeded by the lame." Is not this a picture of 
some of the present follies of fashion ? Have we 
not men with eye-glasses through which they can- 
not see, and women with affected limp, almost 
amounting to an awkward hobble, disfigurations 
most lamentable to those who are ridiculous enough 
to follow this absurdity of fashion ? 

Etiquette aI^d Social OBSEkvAtJcka, 41 

And now let me speak of the various fixed forms 
of obseiTance which should be our guide on those 
occasions where set forms are found to be neces- 
sary in order to avoid embarrassment and con- 
fusion. It will be well first to give the general 
rules, and mention the exceptions when the circum- 
stances which would occasion a divergence are 
treated of hereafter. To begin with introduction : 
when a lady and gentleman are to be introduced 
to each other, the lady's permission should first be 
asked and obtained, and the office can only be 
performed by a common friend. Always introduce 
the gentleman to the lady, and never the lady to the 
gentleman. When the sexes are the same, present 
the inferior to the superior. 

The etiquette observed is to accompany the 
gentleman to the lady, who, if seated, does not rise, 
and say, "May ]," or "Allow me to introduce 
Mr. Sinclair — Miss Grant, Mr. Sinclair.'* Where- 
upon both bow, but do not shake hands, the intro- 
ducer then retires, and the introduced at once enter 
into conversation. It is always the part of the lady 
to make the first intimation pf recognition at their 
next meeting. A gentleman must not either bow 
or shake hands with a lady until she has made the 
first movement; neither must he, under any cir- 
cumstances, fail to return her courtesies. If he 
meet her in the street, and sees she wishes to speak, 
he will immediately turn and walk in the direction 
in which she is going ; if on horseback, he will dis- 
mount and lead his horse, and walk by her side, 
for on no occasion is it permissible for a lady to 
stand for any time while talking in a street In the 
days of our Dutch king, it was customary for a 
gentleman when walking beside a lady to carry his 

42 Good Society 

hat in his hand or under his arm. The practice of 
walking arm-in-arm appears to be quite of com- 
paratively modern date, but is now entirely aban- 
doned, except on such occasions as going in to 
dinner, supper, etc. The custom of a husband and 
wife appearing arm-in-arm when their names are 
announced at a reception is altogether out of date. 
The lady enters first, and her lord follows after. 
In the same way couples do not walk arm-in-arm 
in the streets, unless to traverse some crowd. 
When two or more persons walked together, it was 
formerly the custom to hold each other by the 
hands. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries it 
seems to have been the height of gentility to hold 
the lady by the finger only. If by any mischance 
a lady is in a crowd, the gentleman should precede 
her, in order to clear a path for her, and try to 
shield her as much as he possibly can from rude 
encounters ; for on such-like gatherings honest John 
Bull thinks he does not show the true spirit of 
liberty unless he jostles, squeezes, and pushes his 
neighbours about as much as possible. A gen- 
tleman will follow a l^dy up and down stairs ; he 
will get out of a carriage first, and offer his hand 
in order to assist her to alight; he will not use 
slang expressions when conversing with her ; he 
will never smoke in the presence of a lady without 
first obtaining her permission, and if, when smoking 
out of doors, he meets any lady, be she friend or 
foe, he will take his cigar out of his mouth while 
passing her. "To be sure," says Dr. Johnson, 
" it is a shocking thing blowing smoke out of one's 
mouth into other people's mouths, eyes, and noses." 
The custom of withdrawing the glove before 
shaking hands with a lady is now a thing of the 

Etiquette and Social Observances, 43 

past It originated in the knight taking off his iron 
gauntlet, which would have hurt the hand of his 
" faire ladye." No longer do we see gentlemen 
carrying a creased glove, or wearing one untidily 
large, in order to avoid the awkwardness of keeping 
the lady waiting while he drags it off. The well- 
fitting, tidy, comfortable one has taken its place, 
and may it long retain it ! 

As grace should attend all the movements, 
whether of man or woman, the manner of bowing, 
shaking the hand, walking, and speaking should be 
at once refined and elegant. 

The bow should be a graceful bend, or inclina- 
tion of the head ; not a hasty movement, nor a stiff 
jerk. A gentleman should raise his hat, indeed, 
take it off his head, but not with a flourish, nor 
seize it with a sudden dash, as is now so often seen. 
There is great art in making a bow, dignified and 
stately, but at the same time neither stiff nor awk- 
ward ; and how much more difficult is it than people 
suppose to shake hands well ! 

In what a variety of ways are our hands shaken 
in the course of the year, and how few of those 
ways are pleasant ones ! Sometimes our hands are 
seized and violently agitated to and fro ; at others, 
a limp, nerveless something is dropped into our out- 
stretched palm, which shows no sign of life while 
in our possessioa There are people who, from 
no feeling of affection, but simply from a vicious 
habit intended to express heartiness and cordiality, 
squeeze your fingers until the rings upon them 
enter into your flesh. Others — and I think this the 
most trying ordeal — retain your hand in theirs for a 
length of time, and ever and anon give it a little 
shake by way of adding empressement to their 

44 Good Society, 

inquiries about your welfare. This latter custom 
is a very old-fashioned one, but now and again 
one is rendered uncomfortable by encountering it. 
No ; each of these forms of hand-shaking is most 
irritating and objectionable. Take the hand 
offered you firmly; be careful to grasp the hand^ 
not the fingers merely, which has a ridiculous 
effect ; give it a gentle pressure, and thefT relin- 
quish it ; do not lift it up to shake, neither let it 
drop suddenly — heartiness and cordiality should 
be expressed, without the slightest approach to 

I have often heard people say, " I can tell 
whether a man is a gentleman from his walk." I 
know that -servants can be distinguished by the 
short abrupt steps they take ; so, doubtless, a true 
lady can be discovered by her manner of walking. 
The following forms one of a code of manners 
drawn up by a Frenchman for the benefit of his 
countrywomen in the thirteenth century : — " Do not 
trot or run, and as you walk look straight before 
you with eyelid slow and fixed, looking forward 
to the ground at five toises (thirty feet) before you, 
not looking at or turning your eyes to man or 
woman who may be to your right or left, nor look- 
ing upwards, nor changing your look from one place 
to another, nor laughing, nor stopping to speak to 
anybody." It does not appear that this strict rule 
was for the special use of nuns or any religious 
body, but intended for the well-bred lady of the 

But to return to " y' maiden of our own day " : 
let her step be firm and her gait steady, let her 
not walk in too great a hurry, nor yet drag slowly 
along. Let her arms move with the natural motion 

Etiquette and Social Observances, 45 

of the body ; they must neither swing to and fro 
nor dangle by the side. 

" Grace was in all her steps. 
In every gesture dignity." 

A man's walk should differ from a woman's in that 
he should take a longer step, but steadiness of 
carriage and firmness of tread are as necessary in 
the one as in the other. Horace Walpole is de- 
scribed as always entering a room with knees bent 
and feet on tiptoe, as if afraid of a wet floor ; but we 
are told that this affected style was quite a la mode 
in his day. 

In the house a woman is allowed much less 
freedom of posture than a man ; he may change 
his position in an infinity of ways, lounge and loll, 
cross his legs, do anything but sit on the edge of 
his chair or clasp his hands round his knee ; but a 
woman must sit still. Addison thought that the 
one great end of a lady's learning to dance was 
that she might know how to sit still gracefully. 
The hands, if not occupied, are so apt to fidget 
either with each other, with some part of the dress, 
or face. Very often it is a nervous habit ; but from 
whatever cause it may arise, it should be at once 
and finally repressed. 

One more remark I must make before I close 
the chapter, and that is on conversation. "The 
tone of good conversation," says Rousseau, " is flow- 
ing and natural ; it is neither heavy nor frivolous ; 
it is lively without noise." The art of conversation 
consists as much in listening politely as in talking 
agreeably ; therefore never interrupt anyone who 
may be speaking to you, and at the same time do 
not let your eyes wander to other objects, but 

46 Good Society, 

keep them on the speaker, avoiding, however, the 
rude stare. We should never be demonstrative in 
our actions while speaking, nor should we either 
talk loudly or laugh boisterously \ and the Persians 
say of noisy, unreasonable talk, "I hear the noise 
of the millstone, but I see no meal." Whispering 
is a great breach of good manners. It is young 
people, generally speaking, who commit this breach. 
Youth and high spirits, together with love of fun 
and frolic, make them forgetful or oblivious of the 
feelings of others, and they indulge in this repre- 
hensible and rude habit — for rude it most un- 
doubtedly is. Who has not seen a knot of young 
people cluster together in the corner of a room, and 
begin first to whisper and then to giggle ? It may 
be that nothing was further from their thoughts or 
lips than to make remarks upon the company 
present ; but such conduct always produces the 
impression on the minds of those outside the clique 
that they are the subject of those comments, and 
perhaps the objects of ridicule. Therefore, how- 
ever strong the desire may be to have private fun 
and amusement, or to communicate secrets, it must 
not be given way to in public. 

Happily for us, general society is not made as 
uncomfortable by this style of behaviour as it used 
to be ; for the following description of the misery 
endured by a gentleman at an evening party, 
written fifty years ago, would be deemed a highly 
exaggerated one now : — 

" On my arrival the ladies indeed rose ; but when 
I was seated, they grouped themselves in a corner 
and entered into a private cabal, seemingly to dis- 
course upon points of great secresy and importance, 
but equal merriment and diversion. Their con- 

Etiquette and Social Observances. 47 

versation was confined wholly to themselves — it was 
a continued laugh and whisper; a whole sent- 
ence was scarce ever spoken aloud ; single words 
now and then broke forth, such as * odious/ 
* horrible/ &c. My friend seemed to be in an 
uneasy situation at his own table, but I was far 
more miserable. I sat mute, and seldom dared to 
raise my eyes or turn my head, lest by some 
awkward gesture I might draw upon me a whisper 
or a laughs' I should not have remarked upon 
this habit had it been an obsolete one ; but it is 
by no means uncommon now. 

Would that the speaking voice were as as- 
siduously cultivated as the singing voice, and then 
the nerves of our ears would not be so often 
jarred by harsh and iTnmelodicms talking ! " Her 
voice was ever soft, gentle, and low — an excellent 
thing in woman." That it is a question of culture 
we may be sure, by observing that all those who 
speak on the stage have sweetly-toned, pleasant 
voices, and this could not be natural in every case. 
Our two Queens Anne and Mary were both distin- 
guished for their clear and distinct pronunciation, 
their sweetness of intonation and grace of enuncia- 
tion; these important accomplishments they derived 
from the instructions of Mrs. Betterton, an actress. 

And then again, what pleasanter sound than a 
musical laugh? and yet how seldom do we hear 
one ! Goldsmith asserts that a loud laugh be- 
speaks a vacant mind, and Carlyle writes in his 
quaint way, " Few are able to laugh what can 
be called laughing, but only sniff and titter 
from the throat outwards, or, at best, produce 
some whiffling, husky cachinnations, as if they 
were laughing through wool. Of pone sych cpm^§ 

48 Good Society, 

good." Without endorsing this sweeping assertion, 
we may earnestly recommend the culture of a well- 
modulated voice and musical laugh. 

But, alas ! what avails the sweetest-toned voice, 
if the language is not correct and refined? In 
the words of Ruskin, " A well-educated gentleman 
may not know many languages — may not be able 
to speak any but his own. But whatever languages 
he knows, he knows precisely ; whatever word he 
pronounces, he pronounces rightly — above all, he 
is learned in the peerage of words ; knows the 
words of true descent and ancient blood at a glance 
from words of modern canaille." Not only should 
the rules of grammar be attended to strictly, not 
only should the " poor letter H " be always put in 
its right and never in its wrong place, but care 
should be taken lest words and phrases should be 
introduced unconsciously into our conversation, 
which are offensive corruptions of the English 
tongue. And to quote Ruskin once more, " Vul- 
garity is indicated by coarseness of language, but 
only so far as this coarseness has been contracted 
under circumstances not necessarily producing it 
There is no vulgarity in — 

' Blythe was she but and ben, 
And weel she liked a Hawick gill, 
And leugh to see a tappit hen ' ; 

but much in Mrs. Gamp's inarticulate * bottle on 
the chumley-piece, and let me put my lips to it 
when I am so dispoged.' Provincial dialect," he 
goes on to say, " is not vulgar, but Cockney dialect 
is so in a deep degree, because it is the corruption 
of a finer language continually heard." This ignor- 
ance or want of taste meets with a sharp rebuke 

Etiquette and Social Observances, 49 

in the pages of the Tatler, The fashion of ab- 
breviating words, of making one word out of two, 
and pronouncing the first syllable only, in a word 
that has many, is strongly censured. This reproof 
w^as directed against the use of such words as 
" phiz," " coz," and the like, then in vogue. We 
may, in like manner, condemn as wholly objec- 
tionable the use of those barbarous mutilations of 
phrases such as " thank you," which has been con-, 
densed into " thanks ; " and also lift up our voices 
against the shortening of " invitation " into "invite." 
The constant use of the word "lady" and the 
term "lady friend" is also objectionable. It is 
to be presumed that all your female acquaintances 
are "ladies." A writer sarcastically observes, 
" There is scarce one woman to be met with ; the 
sex consists almost entirely of ladies. ^^ 

The recognised order of precedency is as fol- 
lows : — 

Peers rank among themselves by date, according 
to their patent of creation. 

Foreign ambassadors are given the precedence 
of our nobility, as the representatives of the person 
of the Sovereign who accredits them. 

There is no specified place for physicians or 
medical men, but they are ranked in the Royal 
household as next to knights. 


Sovereign. Brothers of Sovereign. 

Prince of Wales. Uncles of Sovereign. 

Other Sons of Sovereign. Sovereign's brothers' or sisters' 

Grandsons of Sovereign. sons. 



Good Society. 

Archbishop of Canterbury, 
Lord Primate of All Eng- 

The Lord High Chancellor or 
Lord Keeper. 

The Archbishop of York, Pri- 
mate of England. 

The Archbishop of Armagh, 
Primate of Ireland. 

The Archbishop of Dublin. 

The Lord High Treasurer. 

The Lord President of the 
Privy Council. 

The Lord Privy Seal. 

The Lord Great Chamberlain. 

The Lord High Constable. 

The Earl Marshal. 

The Lord High Admiral. 

The Lord Steward of Her 
Majesty's Household. 

The Lord Chamberlain of Her 
Majesty's Household. 

Dukes, according to their pa- 
tent of creation. 

Marquises, according to their 
patent of creation. 

Dukes' eldest sons. 

Earls, according to their 

Marquises' eldest sons. 

Dukes' younger sons. 

Viscounts, according to their 

Earls' eldest sons. 

Marquises' younger sons. 

Bishops — London, Durham, 
and Winchester. All other 
English Bishops according 
to their senionty of conse- 

Bishops of Meath and Kildare. 
All other Irish Bishops ac- 
cording to their seniority of 

Secretaries of State of the 
degree of Baron. 

Barons, according to their 

Speaker of the House of Com- 

Commissioners of the Great 

Treasurer of Her Majesty's 

Comptroller of Her Majesty's 

Master of the Horse. 

Vice-Chamberlain of Her Ma- 
jesty's Household. 

Secretaries of State under the 
degree of Baron. 

Viscounts' eldest sons. 

Earls' younger sons. 

Barons' eldest sons. 

Knights of the Most Noble 
Order of the Garter. 

Privy Councillors. 

Chancellor of the Exchequer. 

Chancellor of the Duchy of 

Lord Chief Justice of the 
Queen's Bench. 

Master of the Rolls. 

Lord Chief Justice of the Com- 
mon Pleas. 

Lord Chief Baron of the Ex- 

The Lords Justices of the 
Court of Appeal in Chan- 


Judges and Barons of the de- 
gree of the Coif of the said 

Commissioners of the Court of 

Viscounts younger sons. 

Barons' younger sons. 

Baronets of England, Scot- 
land, and Ireland. 

Knights of Grand Crosses of 
the Bath. 

Knights of Grand Crosses of 
St. Michael and St. George. 

Knights Commanders of the 

Etiquette and Social Observances, 51 

Knights Commanders of St. 

Michael and St. George. 
Knights Bachelors. 
Companions of the Bath. 
Cavaliers Companions of St. 

Michael and St. George. 
Eldest sons of younger sons of 

Baronets' eldest sons. 
Eldest sons of Knights of the 

Eldest sons of Knights of the 

Knights' eldest sons. 
Younger sons of younger sons 

of Peers. 
Baronets' younger sons. 
Esquires of the Sovereign's 


Gentlemen of the Privy Cham- 

Esquiresof Knights of the Bath. 

Esquires by creation. 

Esquires by office. 

Younger sons of Knights of 
the Garter. 

Younger sons of Knights of 
the Bath. 

Younger sons of Knights 

Clergymen, Barristers-at-law, 
Officers in the Navy and 
Army, who are all Gentle- 
men, and have their respec- 
tive precedency in their 
severaJ professions. 




The Queen. 
Princess of Wales. 
Princesses, daughters of the 

Princesses and Duchesses, 

wives of the Sovereign's 

Granddaughters of the Sove- 
Wives of the Sovereign's 

The Sovereign's sisters. 
Wives of the Sovereign's 

The Sovereign's aunts. 
Wives of the Sovereign's 

Wives of eldest sons of Dukes 

of the Blood Royal. 
Daughters of Dukes of the 

Blood Royal. 
Wives of the eldest sons of 


D 2 

Daughters of Dukes. 


Wives of eldest sons of Mar- 

Daughters of Marquises. 

Wives of younger sons of 


Wives of eldest sons of Earls. 

Daughters of Earls. 

Wives of younger sons of Mar- 


Wives of eldest sons of Vis- 

Daughters of Viscounts. 

Wives of younger sons pf 

Wives of eldest sons of Barons. 

Daughters of Barons. 

Maids of Honour. 

Wives of younger sons of Vis- 

Wives of younger sons of 



Good Society, 

Wives of Baronets. 

Wives of Knights of the 

Wives of Knights of Grand 

Crosses, Order of the Bath. 
Wives of Knights Grand 

Crosses of St. Michael and 

St. George. 
Wives of Knights Bachelors. 
Wives of Companions of the 

Wives of Companions of St. 

Michael and St. George. 
Wives of the eldest sons of the 

younger sons of Peers. 
Wives of eldest sons of 

Daughters of Baronets. 
Wives of the eldest sons of 

Knights of the Garter. 
Daughters of Knights of the 

Wives of eldest sons of Knights 

of the Bath. 
Daughters of Knights of the 


Wives of eldest sons of KiJghts 

Daughters of Knights Bache- 

Wives of younger sons of 
younger sons of Peers. 

Wives of younger sons of 

Wives of Esquires of the Sove- 
reign's Body. 

Wives of Esquires to the 
Knights of the Bath. 

Wives of Gentlemen entitled 
to bear arms. 

Daughters of Esquires en- 
titled to bear arms who are 
Gentlewomen by birth. 

Daughters of Gentlemen en- 
titled to bear arms who are 
Gentlewomen by birth. 

Wives of Clergymen, Bar- 

Wives of Officers in the Navy 
and Army. 

Wives of Citizens. 

Wives of Burgesses. 



Letter- writing in General — How to Write a Letter — ** Pens, 
Ink, and Paper, Sealing-wax and Wafer *' — Different 
Forms of Invitation — Modes of addressing Persons of 

*' To write aptly is of practice ; 

to write is to speak beyond hearing, 

And none stand by to explain." Tupper. 

It is said that orators write affectedly, ministers 
obscurely, poets floridly, learned men pedantically, 
and soldiers tolerably when they can spell. " No 
talent among men hath more scholars and fewer 
masters." The palm of good letter- writing has 
been universally awarded to the fair sex, but now- 
a-days, when so much correspondence goes on 
daily, few letters are indited which are really 
worthy of commendation. The lives we lead are 
so crowded with events that we have not the time 
to record them except in the most concise form 
possible ; continual change, hurry, and bustle pre- 
vent us devoting much time to our pens, even 
although we have every incentive to write. Our 
more industrious and persevering ancestors wrote 
under difficulties, with their parchment or paper 
placed on their knees ; while we possess desks of 
the most approved shapes and sizes, and have 

54 Good Society, 

everything made easy for our use. They had to 
undergo much trouble in folding the large sheets of 
paper then used, in a very precise manner, so that 
one end could be neatly inserted inside the other, 
and then the seal had to be affixed ; we have now our 
envelopes into which to thrust our missives, securely 
sealed without the help of sealing-wax or wafer; 
our perforated stamps, so quickly torn asunder; 
and post cards — which device, by the way, should 
be made use of for transacting business matters 
solely, and not for private affairs — and also letter- 
cards. A few hints on letter-writing in general 
will not be out of place before speaking of the 
various styles proper on different occasions. 

In order to make our letters pleasant to our 
friends, we should write as we speak, just what we 
have to say, and exactly in the words we should 
say if our correspondent were sitting by us; and 
then all that stiff formality, those long strings of 
questions, those meaningless sentences with which 
the mass of letters are burdened, would die a natural 
death. " I desire my acquaintances when they 
write to me," says Addison, " rather to say some- 
thing which would make me wish myself with 
them, than make me compliments that they wished 
themselves with me/' The Germans give strict in- 
junctions that you should not mention yourself 
before you have introduced the person of your cor- 
respondent ; that is, you must not use the mono- 
syllable " I " before the pronoun ** you " — a com- 
mand which it would be well to issue in this 
country, and so put a stop to that wearisome for- 
mula of commencement, " I hope you are quite well." 
The handwriting should be clear, and yet not too 
large and bold ; it should possess some character 

Letter-Writing, 55 

- * 

and style, but not be adorned or ornamented with 

fine flourishes and dashes. The minute ItaUan 
handwriting — in which the words and letters ap- 
peared to possess no individuality of their own — 
has now passed out of date, and a freer, nobler 
style has taken its place. There is a fashion in 
letter-paper and envelopes which is ever varying as 
to size and shape — sometimes small, at other times 
large ; now oblong, now square ; but one thing never 
alters, and that is the desirability of using good 
thick paper and envelopes, whatever the shape may 
be. Nothing looks more mean and untidy than 
thin sheets and envelopes of the same quality, 
through which the writing exhibits itself. 

Some years ago the letter-paper and envelopes 
used for notes of invitation were of the daintiest 
and tiniest size ; the edges were lined with gold 
or silver, and the most fairy-like impression in 
white wax fastened the missive. Now we have 
gone somewhat to the other extreme, and use 
paper and envelopes of much larger size. We are 
plainer too. All show and smartness is forbidden. 
No blue or red-edged paper ; no fancifully coloured 
ink ; no gaudily illuminated device of crest or 
armorial bearings is admissible. The letter-paper 
which is considered to show the most correct taste 
is of medium thickness, is finely ribbed, slightly 
glazed, and delicately tinted. Envelopes should 
match the letter-paper in all respects. A fashion 
prevalent with regard to envelopes is to have the 
address stamped across the flap ; but this, to our 
mind, is most objectionable, and simply calculated 
to satisfy the incurable curiosity of servants as 
regards the correspondence of their employers. 

The address is written or printed on one side 

56 Good SociEry, 

at the top of the first page ; the monogram, or 
crest, when used, opposite. If on mourning 
paper these are in black, otherwise they should 
be printed in white, or one colour on^y. Letters 
should not be commenced very high or very low on 
the page, but should be nearer the top than the 
bottom. It is always more desirable to take a 
second sheet than to cross the writing, a habit 
which renders the reading of the letter a task, and 
one to which men particularly object. 

The size of paper used should be according to 
the style of note written. Printed cards for formal 
invitations are now almost invariably used ; but 
should these kinds of invitations be written, a small 
size — that called the " Albert " — is used. 

Cards, square in shape, and white or tinted in 
colour, with the address stamped on them, are used 
for little notes and informal invitations : also, for 
these same purposes, small sheets of paper stamped 
with address and monogram, with envelopes 
attached — one piece forming the two — have been 
brought into use. 

When sealing-wax is required, either red or black 
must be used ; but we doubt if any one could be found 
able to seal a letter neatly except a lady or gentleman 
of the olden school ; so little occasion there is for the 
art to be practised. Wafers are never allowable. 

All letters to strangers and notes of formal 
character should as a rule be written in the third 
person, and must always be answered in the same 
way ; and we trust, for the sake of the writer's re- 
putation, that they will be better worded and less 
confused than the one subjoined, which was an 
answer sent to us by a seemingly well-educated 
woman, the sister of a surgeon. We put it aside as a 

Letter- Writing. 5 7 

curiosity, and now copy it verbatim ; but hope that 
our readers will not do the same : — 

Miss B presents her own and her sister's and brother's 

joint compliments, and begs leave to say that she and they will 

be happy to accept the vicar's and Mrs. C' ^^'s kind invitation 

on Friday evening, on the condition — which only applies though 
to her brother — that his presence be excused until somewhat 
later in the evening. 

Thursday Morning. 

In this instance two separate notes should have 
been returned in answer to the invitation — which, 
being of a formal character, had doubtless been 
conveyed in that form — one for the sisters and one 
for the brother ; or if otherwise, the reply might 
have been couched thus — 

The Misses and Mr. B have much pleasure in accept- 
ing Mr. and Mrs. C 's kind invitation for Friday evening. 

Mr. B regrets that an engagement will prevent him from 

coming until later in the evening. 

In certain cases, however, such as asking the 
character of a servant, where it is necessary to ask 
numerous questions and make various remarks, it is 
better to write in the first person even to a stranger, 
as the constant repetition of the names in a letter 
of any length becomes awkward. In that case 
the commencement would be " Sir " or " Madam," 
and the conclusion " Yours truly." To ordinary 
acquaintances " Yours sincerely " is the correct 
termination ; and whatever the degree of friendship, 
we are inclined to think that great demonstrations 
of affection and terms of endearment are better 
avoided, or left only for the use of lovers. To 
" present compliments '* is old-fashioned, and so is 
to " avail yourself." 

An invitation to dinner is issued in the name of 


S8 Good Soc/etv. 

the gentleman and lady. The following is the form 
for printed cards : — 

Mr. and Mrs. Thompson 

Request the pleasure of 

Mr. and Mrs. Field's 

company at Dinner on Saturday, 

the 9th of May, at half-past 7 o'clock. 

Arncliffei April 26M. 

Mr. and Mrs. Field accept with pleasure Mr. and Mrs. 
Thompson's kind invitation to dinner on the 9th of May. 
Sunny How, April 27M. 

An invitation to a ball, evening party, or an " At 
Home," in the name of the lady only : — 

Mr, and Mrs, Childers. 

Mrs. Simpson, 

At Home, 

Thursday, March 12th 

Music 9 o'clock. r.s.v.p. 

8, Tenterden Square. 

Mrs. Lyon requests the pleasure of 

Mr. and Mrs. Harley's 

company on the evening of 

January the fourteenth. 

Dancing 10 o'clock. r.s.v.p. 

The Beeches, 

Le tteR' Writing, 5 9 

Mr. and Mrs. Harley have much pleasure in accepting 
Mrs. Lyon's kind invitation for the evening of the 14th of 

Belle Vue^ January dth* 

The following is a form of invitation sent by the 
parents of a Bride-elect to those friends who are 
not asked to be guests at the house : — 

Mr. and Mrs. Hayter 

request the honour of 

Mr. and Mrs. Mason's 

company at the Marriage 

of their daughter Mildred, 

At St, Peter's Church, Eaton Square, 

on Thursday, April 15th, 

at 2 o'clock. 

The following are two forms of invitation for a 
garden party : — 

Mr, and Mrs, Acton, 

Mrs. Eden, 

At Home 

The Thursdays in May, 

from 4 to 7 o'clock. 

Eden Hall, Lawn Tennis. 

Mr. and Mrs. Courtenay 

request the pleasure of 

Mr. and Miss Grey's 

company at a Garden Party 

on Friday, the 21st June, at 4 o'clock. 

Dancing after 8 

Aihmeadcw, R .s. v. p 


Good Society, 

" R. S. V. P." are the initials of the words " R^- 
pondez, s'il vous plait" In these invitations for 
out-of-door parties it is always well to specify the 
amusements, that ladies may be dressed accord- 
ingly. For instance, archery and lawn tennis re- 
quire different costumes; and unless dancing is 
named the guests expect to leave early. 

The formal acknowledgment of, inquiries after 
an illness, etc., is : — 

Mrs. Holmes 

Returns thanks for 

Mrs. Hill's 

kind inquiries. 

In addressing a clergyman it is usual to put 
" Rev." or " Dear Sir." It is no longer customary 
to write " B.A." or " M. A." after his name. When 
the Christian name happens to be unknown, \vrite 
the "Rev. White," not the "Rev. Mr. White." 

Doctors of divinity and of medicine are thus 
distinguished :—" To the Rev. R. Martin, D.D." 
or " The Rev. Dr. Martin ; " « To F. G. Hopkins, 
Esq., M.D.," or " Dr. Hopkins ;" but in each case 
the former is considered the more correct. 

In writing to servants it is customary to begin 
thus :— " To Mary Farrar — Mrs. Taylor intends re- 
turning," etc. ; and to tradespeople — " Mrs. Mait- 
land will be obliged by Mr. Scott sending her 61b. 
tea," etc. 

Appended are the forms for addressing persons 
of different ranks, and the proper superscriptions : — 

Letter- Writing, 6 1 

The Queen — Madam — To the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty. 
Members of the Royal Family — Sir — Madam — To His or Her 

Royal Highness. 
Archbishops —My Lord Archbishop — His Grace the Archbishop 


Duke — My Lord Duke — His Grace the Duke of 

Marquis — My Lord Marquis — The Most Hon. the Marquis 


Earl— My Lord— The Right Hon. the Eatl of 

Viscount— My Lord — The Right Hon. the Viscount 

Baron— My Lord— The Right Hon. the Lord F 

Bishops — My Lord Bishop— The Right Rev. the Bishop of 

Honorary titles of "K.G.," "K.C.B.," " M.P.," 
etc., may be added to the name. All members of 
the Privy Council are addressed as " Right Hon.," 
and the title of ** Esq." is dropped, as ** The Right 
Hon. W. E. Gladstone, M.P." 

Peeresses of all the five orders are addressed as : 

Duchess — My Lady— Her Grace the Duchess of 

Marchioness— My Lady — The Most Hon. the Marchioness 


Countess -My Lady — The Right Hon. the Countess of 

Viscountess — My Lady — The Right Hon. the Viscountess of 

Baroness— My Lady — The Right Hon. the Lady F 

Widows of peers, if the successors to the title are 
married :— 

Her Grace the Duchess Dowager of 

The Most Noble the Marchioness Dowager of 

The younger sons and daughters of dukes and 
marquises, and the daughters of dukes, marquises, 
and earls, are styled lords and ladies. 

Younger sons of earls and younger sons and 
daughters of viscounts and barons are siyled, in 
writing, "The Hon." Baronets, in order to dis- 
tinguish them from knights, are addressed thus : 
« Sir H. Grey, Bart," 



The Use of "Calling" — Occasions when Calls should be 
paid — The Card Case and its Contents — Ceremonies of 
Calls — Cake and Wine — Visits — Length of Visits-«CSn- 
duct when Staying in a Friend's House — Gratuities to 

"Well-dressed, well-bred, well-carriag'd, 
Is ticket good enough to pass us readily 

Through every door." Cowper, 

The ceremony of paying calls has been ridiculed 
and derided during the course of many, many years 
as meaningless, useless, and stupid ; but it is still in 
existence, and is as much practised as ever. Visits 
of form, of which most people complain, and yet 
to which most people submit, are absolutely neces- 
sary — being, in fact, the basis on which that great 
structure, society, mainly rests. You cannot invite 
people to your house, however often you may have 
met them elsewhere, until you have first called upon 
them in a formal manner, and they have returned 
the visit. It is a kind of safeguard against any 
acquaintances which are thought to be undesirable. 
If you do not wish to continue the friendship, you 
discontinue to call, and that is considered as 
an intimation of such intentions, and therefore 
no further advances are made by them. But 

Visiting, 63 

it would be considered very baa manners, and 
very uncourteous behaviour, not to retarn a call 
in the first instance. Men do not, as a rule, 
pay these visits of ceremony ; and it would 
appear that they have always shirked their duties 
in this respect as much as possible, judging from 
an allusion made to this failing- by a writer of 
the last century, who says : " It has grown to be 
the fashion among men to treat the business of 
visiting with great disrespect. They look upon it 
as a mere female recreation, and beneath the 
dignity of their superior natures. Yet, notwith- 
standing their contempt, and the odious name of 
* gadding ' which they have given it, I do not find 
that they fail in their appearance at any of our 
assemblies, or that they are better able to shut 
themselves up in their own houses when there is 
anything to be seen or done abroad." 

There is something to be said in defence of the 
men : their days are occupied with other and more 
serious business; their evenings can be given to 
their friends, and so they thus escape the monotony 
of calling, and yet are allowed to enjoy the various 
festive gatherings — provided, of course, that their 
cards have duly represented their owners at the 
houses of their acquaintances. 

There are a great many occasions when calls 
should be paid. There are calls congratulatory, 
calls of condolence, and calls of courtesy. A bride 
is called upon shordy after entering her new home. 
Her parents receive the congratulations imme- 
diately the engagement is announced, and after the 
marriage has taken place. A mother also on the 
birth of a child — indeed, it is usual, when any cause 
for congratulation arises, that friends should at once 

64 Good Society, 

offer their good wishes in person. On the other 
hand, should sorrow or any domestic calamity befall 
any of our acquaintances, condolences and sym- 
pathy should be offered — not immediately, as in 
the other cases ; but sufficient time should be 
allowed to the family before we venture to ask to 
see them. There should be no hasty intrusion 
upon their trouble and grief. To ensure this re- 
spect, it has become the custom to " return thanks 
for kind inquiries," and after these have been 
received, then the call may be paid. 

Lastly, there are calls general. These are made in 
the country upon people when they first come into 
the neighbourhood; and in a town — where every 
one eyes askance a stranger — ^after an introduction 
has been made on the first occasion through some 
common friend ; these formal visits should always be 
returned within three or four days. After receiving 
any particular hospitality, such as a dinner or ball, 
it is necessary to call or merely to leave cards at 
the door within the {^"n following days. The hours 
for calling are between three and six o'clock p.m. 
No call should be paid before luncheon, unless on 
a very familiar friend. 

Cards must be left on all occasions of a formal 
character. A lady leaves her own and two of her 
husband's — one is intended for the gentleman of 
the house and one for the lady. If a call is made 
upon a guest staying at the house, a card is also 
left for her. A lady when leaving cards for her hus- 
band must place them upon the hall table, and not 
leave them in the drawing-room on her departure, 
as was the custom. Should the lady upon whom 
you call not be at home, you turn down one corner 
of the cards, which signifies that you have called 

Visiting, 65 

personally. Cards with inquiries should be left at 
the door ; the post is a permissible channel for 
the transmission of these where the distance is 
inconveniently great. When you arrive in town 
you call and leave your card as an intimation that 
you are in the neighbourhood, thus acting the 
reverse of what is considered proper when in the 
country, where the rule is that the stranger waits 
until called upon. In towns, and more particu- 
larly that vast Babylon, London, people cannot be 
aware of the movements and arrivals of their 
friends, as is the case in the country; so that 
unless an intimation of this kind reached them, 
the town friend would be quite ignorant of the* 
proximity of his country friend. 

The cards of our grandfathers and grandmothers 
wore a very important look — they were of large 
size, very stiff, very highly glazed, and had the 
names written in a series of flourishes. Ours 
are much less ostentatious, plain cards, the gentle- 
man's smaller than the lady's, with name and 
address printed in an ordinary style. Married 
people often have their names together on one 
card, as — 

Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. 
4 Elkam Place, 

Unmarried daughters have their names placed 
under that of their mother — 

Mrs. Benson. 
Miss Benson, 

The Cedars, 


66 Good Society. 

Merely honorary or official designations are 
omitted, except on cards used for visits of a purely 
official character. 

The initials P.D.A. {Pour dire adieu) or P.P.C. 
{Pour prendre, congd) are written on the right-hand 
corner of the card when a call is made for the pur- 
pose of leave-taking, such as that paid before a 
long absence from the neighbourhood. 

" Wedding cards," which formerly used to present 
a very smart and elaborate appearance — thin satin 
cards, with broad silver edges, tied together with 
silver thread, and enclosed in an envelope to match, 
and fastened down by a silver wafer — are never 
sent nowadays^ 

It has^ been remarked that, notwithstanding the 
copiousness of the English language, there is only 
one word for the different times which are occupied 
by a visit. People can find no term to express 
their design of staying fifteen days at a house dif- 
ferent from that which signifies fifteen minutes. The 
would-be reformer goes on to say : — " When a fine 
lady, having a new-fashioned suit of clothes, finds 
it necessary to call upon forty or fifty of her friends 
in one day, I am for an abridgment of the word, 
and would call it a vis. When a gentleman or 
lady intends taking a family dinner with country 
friends, or a dish of tea with a town one, I would 
have that called a visit. But when a person pur- 
poses spending some days, weeks, or months at a 
house, I would call that a visitation,^^ Instead of 
abridging the word, which is always an unwise 
thing to do, we have found another word altogether 
for the short stay of a few minutes in another per- 
son's house, and now we speak of " a call," and ** a 
visit " means spending at least a night from home. 

Visiting, 67 

No call of a purely formal nature should be of 
long duration— certainly not more than a quarter of 
an hour. If you find callers already there, do not 
outstay them, but leave the house even sooner than 
you otherwise would have done. The lady when 
receiving her friends should introduce them to 
each other. She rises to receive each visitor as 
they enter the room, and, if possible, offers a chair 
near to her own to the last comer. If there are 
gentlemen in the room, they also rise when other 
people enter; but the ladies, should there be 
any present, do not leave their seats. Of course 
very much depends upon the degree of intimacy 
which exists ; if this be very great, it will naturally 
modify much of the formality absolutely necessary 
in other cases. There is a picture, drawn in the 
fifteenth century, of a room full of callers, which 
looks very formal and stiff. A bench is round the 
room, close to the wall, and on it are seated all the 
ladies present, with their hands folded on their 
knees, while the gentlemen are seated on stools, and 
wear their hats. It requires considerable art, and 
I might almost say presence of mind, to entertain 
alone a great many callers at one time. The lady 
who receives them should try and converse with 
all ; no one in particular should engross her atten- 
tion. This is no easy matter to perform well and 
gracefully. When callers rise to take their leave, 
the lady of the house rings the bell that the servant 
may be at hand to open the hall door. If the 
gentleman of the house be present, he escorts the 
lady to the hall door and puts her into her carriage. 
" Good-bye " is the form of leave-taking, and not 
"Good-morning," A gentleman should bring his 
hat and stick into the room, and keep them in hig 

68 Good Society, 

hands, unless anything requires him to set his hands 
at liberty : he then places them on the floor. A 
married lady of our acquaintance, ignorant of this 
little piece of etiquette, was quite offended with a 
gentleman who called upon her for taking his hat 
and stick into her drawing-room. "Why did he 
not leave them in the hall ? " said she ; " there was 
a hat-stand for his accommodation." 

Many ladies adopt the plan of always being at 
home on stated afternoons, which are written on their 
visiting-cards, thus, "At home on Thursdays;" "At 
home the first and third Monday in the month.'' 

In country places, where people lived miles apart, 
it was the time-honoured custom to offer wine and 
cake to every caller. At one time even distance was 
not considered ; hospitality was dispensed to every 
comer, ^whether they were next-door neighbours or 
not Here is an amusing instance of the strict- 
ness with which this rule is still observed in some 

A very splendid mansion was lately erected 
quite close to the house of my friends, therefore 
they thought it would be but a neighbourly cour- 
tesy to call upon the new comers. They accord- 
ingly one day crossed the road, ascended a flight 
of steps which led to a massive portal, and, having 
waited some time for admission, were at last invited 
to walk in by some one who did not match the rest 
of the house in appearance. Across a noble hall, 
over a marble floor, and into a magnificent drawing- 
room they were ushered, and there left for some 
time to admire the sp'.endour around them while 
the good woman of the house, it was presumed, 
put on her best bib and tucker. By-andbye the mis- 
tress appeared, resplendent in silks and lace — ^an 

Visiting, 69 

imposing spectacle until the tongue gave utterance, 
and then what a contrast between the refinement of 
all the surrounding objects and the refinement of 
her speech ! The lady began at once to communi- 
cate her domestic troubles : at present they were 

without servants; but Mr. had gone into Wales, 

and he would " leet " on a good one there, no 
doubt In the midst of these confidences the door 
slowly opened, and then a tray appeared, on which 
rested cake and wine. The hand and arm which sup- 
ported it were alone visible. The lady arose, and, 
taking it from the mysterious hand, carried it to the 
table, and commenced dispensing her hospitality. 

It is considered bad manners for the lady of the 
house to keep her callers in " durance vile " — that 
is to say, for her not to go at once into the room 
where they have been ushered. Sometimes one 
calls at a house, and, having been shown into a 
room, has had to wait patiently or otherwise for the 
tardy appearance of the mistress. Whisperings are 
plainly heard, then consultations, then steps going 
stealthily up-stairs and as quietly descending, and 
finally the lady of the house appears in a different 
costume from that she had worn a quarter of an hour 
before. Profuse apologies invariably fall from her 
lips — *'I am so sorry to have kept you waiting," 
&c. But, my dear lady, apologies, however numer- 
ous, will never make up for want of good manners ; 
and therefore when the next caller honours you, go 
to her as you are, and repress the desire to exhibit 
your last new dress. 

On the other hand, the visitors will, it is to be 
hoped, refrain from bringing either dogs or child- 
ren. The former are apt to do a great deal of 
mischief in overturning things, and require the 

70 Good Society, 

constant attention of their owner, which interrupts 
conversation ; and the latter, besides often hearing 
much that they should not, are apt to make 
awkward remarks, and are often as mischievous 
amongst china and nick-nacks as the canine pet. 

When you call with a letter of introduction — 
which, by the way, when given in the first instance, 
should not be sealed — it is usual to leave your card 
and the letter, and not go in, as, should you do so, 
you place the lady of the house in a dilemma. 
Your name does not enlighten her as to who you 
may be, and she cannot very well read the letter in 
your presence, as in that case she could not enter- 
tain you. The gentleman or lady to whom the 
letter is addressed should at once send an invitation, 
and show hospitality in some form to the friend of 
their friend. And now we will turn to "visitations ; " 
but before entering into details, let us say a word 
of warning to the young or unmarried persons. 
They, and more especially the gentler portion of 
that community, often make mistakes by prolong- 
ing their stay at a friend's house over a much 
longer period of time than was first mentioned or 
thought of by either party ; they turn visits into 

Young girls have little to occupy them in their 
own homes, or perhaps they have too much for 
their liking ; however that may be, they receive an 
invitation from a firiend to spend a week or two, 
and the week or two merges into a month or two. 
They are aware that time is gliding on ; but it is a 
pleasant existence. Amusements are provided ; 
there are no cares nor troubles to vex and worry 
either mind or body; and they are loth to make 
the required effort. A feeble declaration is uttered 

Visiting. 71 

by them ; but directly the hostess says — as polite- 
ness requires — " Oh, must you go ? " or " Can't you 
stay longer with us ? " the young visitor catches at 
the words, and settles comfortably down again, and 
prolongs her sojourn. " Never outstay your wel- 
come " is an old but a good saying ; and we have 
very often heard the remark made, " I cannot (or 
shall not) ask Miss So-and-so ; she always stays so 
long when she comes, and one never knows when 
she will go." If you are not well acquainted with 
those who invite you, and particularly if they are 
people who keep a great deal of company, two or 
three days is the usual time. Of course the time 
you stay depends very much, too, on the size of 
your party. It is better when inviting your friends 
to specify the length : " I shall be glad if you will 
spend a week with us." The hostess should take 
particular care to be at home when her guests 
arrive, and ready to receive and welcome them. 
Nothing gives a greater chill than a cold or a tardy 
welcome, and nothing gives more pleasure than a 
cheerful, prompt, and hearty greeting. 

•* There is a certain hospitable air 
In a friend's house that tells me I am welcome : 
The porter opens to me with a smile, 
The yard dog wags his tail, the servant runs. 
Beats up the cushions, spreads the couch, and says, 
' Sit down, good sir,' ere I can say I'm weary." 

" There is,'' says Washington Irving, **an emana- 
tion from the heart in genuine hospitality which 
cannot be described, but is immediately felt, and 
which puts the stranger at once at his ease.'* The 
manner of greeting is not so free How as in olden 
days. Then it was in deeds as well as words. It is 

72 Good Society. 

still customary for great and dear friends and rela- 
tions to salute one another with the kiss of peace ; 
but this is anything but a universal mode of salu- 
tation, at least in demure dnd proper England. In 
France and Germany, on the contrary, the inhabit- 
ants go to the other extreme, and men kiss one 
another in public and in private. That this form 
of greeting was once more a la mode in our country 
than it now is we learn from the remarks made by 
three foreign travellers. Chalcondylas, a Greek, who 
visited our island four or five centuries ago, was 
highly surprised, delighted, and edified with this 
way of procedure. He says, "As for English 
females and children, their customs are liberal in 
the extreme. When a visitor calls at a friend's 
house, his first act is to kiss his friend's wife." 
Nicander Nicius also adverts to this osculatbry 
practice; and Erasmus, the staid Dutchman, be- 
comes quite lively when expatiating upon this sub- 
ject. He writes, "The English have a custom 
which can never be sufficiently commended. Oil 
your arrival you are welcomed with kisses, on your 
departure you are sent off with kisses ; if you return 
the embraces are repeated ; wherever you meet you 
are greeted with a kiss ; whichever way you turn 
there is nothing but kissing." 

A hostess will make all the arrangements in- her 
power to provide for the pleasure and amusement 
of her guests ; and the guests in return must not 
be unmindful of what is incumbent on them. They 
should readily fall into all the plans that are made 
for their entertainment, and try to assimilate their 
ways to those of the household of which they are 
members for the time being, even in what may 
seem to them trivial matters. They should not 

Visiting, 73 

expect the attention either of their host or hostess 
during the morning hours. Breakfast and luncheon 
do not require a punctual attendance, as at those 
meals it is not considered impolite to begin at the 
stated hour, whether all the guests have assembled 
or not. But not to be in the drawing-room when 
dinner is announced, to absent yourself after 
dinner, or to make any plans irrespective of your 
entertainers, are grave . offences against social law. 
The time of retiring for the night is intimated in 
various ways ; a not unusual sign is the appearance 
of a tray with wine, soda-water, and biscuits, after 
partaking of which there is a distribution of candle- 
sticks amongst the ladies, who retire to their own 
apartments; and the gentlemen also vacate the 
drawing-room, and some, perhaps, adjourn to the 

Fees or no fees? No definite determination 
has yet been arrived at with regard to this often- 
discussed question of giving money to servants. 
In some few houses the owners have placed cards 
in their visitors' bed-rooms, requesting them not to 
give gratuities ; but servants, like railway porters, 
look out for their douceurs. All those who have 
rendered a guest any assistance look for an acknow- 
ledgment, and their hands are always on the alert 
when the moment of your departure arrives, to 
receive and close upon the gold or silver coin 
deposited therein. 

A lady gives to the maid who has assisted her 
with her toilet, and the housemaid. A gentleman 
remembers the valet, butler, coachman, game- 
keeper — any and all who have rendered him any 
service, and the donations are according to the 
wealth of the donor; but, as a rule, the men-servants 

74 Good Society. 

in large houses expect gold. These gratuities are 
really a great tax upon people's purses ; and the 
question whether to accept an invitation is often 
decided in the negative by the thought of the ex- 
penses entailed, not by railway tickets and cabs, 
but by the men and the maids. 



Style of Dress appropriate for different Occasions — A Christen- 
ing — When Paying Calls— At Garden Parties — Picnics — 
The Seaside — Morning Dress — Dinner and Ball Dresses 
— ^Jewellery — Bride's Costume ; Bridesmaids' — The Guests 
at a Wedding — Mourning — Man's Dress— As a Bride- 
groom — At Garden Parties — Seaside — "Full Dress" — 
Jewellery — The Hat and Gloves. 

" And now the toilet stands displayed." 


" Come, tailor, let us see't. 
Oh mercy ! what masking stuff is here ? 
What's this ? A sleeve ? " Shakespeare. 

As Dr. Doran remarks, " Man is the only animal 
born without being provided with a necessary cos- 
tume ; plants die that man may live, and animals 
are skinned that the lords of the creation may be 
covered." It is therefore essential that the toilet 
should be a matter for thought and consideration 
for every one. 

Now this chapter is not intended to be a disser- 
tation upon fashion ; that I leave to the dress- 
makers* monthly periodicals, for 

"Our dress still varying. 
Nor to forms confined. 
Shifts like the sand, the sport 
Of every wind." 

76 Good Society, 

I shall simply show what is the style and cha- 
racter of dress appropriate for wear on different 

I agree with Dr. Watts, that 

" It is in good manners, and not in good dress. 
That the truest gentility lies ; " 

but still I think the two go very much together, 
and that dress has a certain effect on the cha^ 
racter and manners. Most people hold that 
the reverse of this is true, and that a person's 
dress is influenced by his character. Probably 
each has an influence on the other ; but be that 
as it may, an ill-dressed man is never so much 
at his ease as a well-dressed man, and I believe 
that mean and shabby clothing has an unconscious 
hold on the mind. 

" Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, 
But not expressed in fancjr— rich, not gaudy ; 
For the apparel oft proclaims the man." 

I have elsewhere protested against "best" rooms 
and " company " manners, and would here remark 
that the habit of being particular in our attire only 
when we appear before ** company " is a bad one, 
and an " ill habit has the force of an ill fate." The 
eyes of those who form our home circle should 
never be distressed by an untidy appearance. Cir- 
cumstances may forbid our garments being either 
rich or costly, but neatness and simple elegance 
can always be shown in every dress and at every 
season. •* My wife appears decent enough in her 
apparel to those who visit us in an afternoon ; but 

The Toilet, 77 

in the morning she is quite another figure," writes a 

There is no easier method by which to detect 
the real lady from the sham one than by noticing 
her style of dress. Vulgarity is readily distin- 
guished, however costly and fashionable the habili- 
ments may be, by the breach of certain rules of 
harmony and fitness. No one, perhaps, can dress 
perfectly without a genius for it, but every one can 
avoid vulgarity and slovenliness, and attain the 
average standard of gentility. Neatness we have 
spoken of as a requisite element, and another and 
all-important one is suitability — suitability as to 
various times and seasons — suitability as to age. 

A dress which would look perfectly well on one 
occasion will appear out of place and vulgar on 
another. A costume in which a young woman 
looks bewitching makes an older one look absurd 
and ridiculous. 

Our neighbours on the other side of the Channel, 
who are always held up to us as models of taste, 
are very particular in these points — neatness and 
suitability — and we must own that an English- 
woman rarely presents an appearance as elegant as 
a Frenchwoman, even though the attire of the 
former may be gorgeous, and that of the latter 
simple and plain in the extreme. The French 
excel, too, in the assortment and harmonising of 
colours. They never dream of decking themselves 
in all the hues of the rainbow ; one, or at the most 
two colours predominate in their whole dress ; 
and whatever the colours chosen, they are selected 
with a view to suit the complexion of the wearer. 
Alas and alack ! for Englishwomen in respect to 
these matters. Here, you see one with drab face 

78 Good Society 

and drab dress; there, one bedizened like a har- 
lequin ; some in silks and satins, lace and jewels, 
when the occasion demands that they should be 
plainly clad in woollens and cambric ; mothers and 
grandmothers affecting a style of juvenility which 
would look charming on their descendants, but ill- 
becomes their grey heads and wrinkled brows. The 
old lady I saw at a college concert, who had placed 
on the back of her grey-haired head a bunch of 
brown hair, and considered that a sufficient ornament 
without the addition of cap or lappet ; and the one 
I met at a ball, attired in white satin, with her bare 
seventy-year-old neck and shoulders powdered 
and devoid of scarf or shawl, forgot the fact that 
the aping of juvenility " multiplies the wrinkles of 
old age, and makes its decay more conspicuous." 

But let us proceed to review the various styles of 
dress^proper for different occasions. 

The dress worn by a mother at her infant's 
christening and her own churching should be 
plain and neat, but handsome and substantial. 
There is an entry in King Edward II.'s " House- 
hold Book" to the following effect: "To the 
Queen's tailor was delivered five pieces of white 
velvet, for the making thereof a certain robe 
against the churching of the Queen after the birth 
of her son." A dress of silken material will look 
more in accordance with the occasion than one of 
thin texture. 

The costume for paying calls when on foot differs 
from that which should be worn for the same pur- 
pose when driving in a carriage. In the former case 
it will be of a much plainer character. It may be 
light or dark, according to the season ; but it must 
not be gay, and not h?^ve anything about it tg 

The Toilet, 79 

attract attention, but be like that of the lady ol 
whom Dr. Johnson said that he was sure she was 
well dressed, because he could not remember any- 
thing that she had on. 

Carriage dress has much more licence. Hand- 
some costumes, made of rich silken materials, flowery 
or feathery bonnets and lace sunshades, which would 
look quite out of place when walking, are suitable 
when driving. For some years black gloves were 
universally worn at all times and seasons, and with 
every style of dress. Their place has been taken by 
tan-coloured gloves, which are worn with evening as 
well as with morning attire. Those made of soft, 
dull su^de kid are selected for evening wear in pre- 
ference to the thicker glossy kid. When paying 
calls, gloves of a shade harmonising in colour with 
the dress are usually worn. All gloves are long, and 
are fastened by many buttons, the number of which 
varies from six on those worn out of doors to twenty 
on those worn with evening dress. Bracelets and 
bangles of gold or silver are worn over the glove. 

The toilet for garden parties, bazaars, flower-shows, 
&c., is of a brighter, gayer fashion, and affords room 
for the display of much taste and elegance. Young 
women attire themselves in delicately tinted fine 
materials — materials which have a refinement, 
beauty, and" softness characteristic of those whom 
they are designed to embellish, but quite distinctive 
from those worn in the ball-room. These costumes 
are made as effective and coquettish as possible — 
everything that will add to the gaiety, without pass- 
ing the limits of morning attire, is permissible, and 
the whole is crowned by a bonnet or hat of like 
description. The elder ladies should wear silks or 
^pme handsome material, richly trimmed with lace. 

8o Good Society. 

a foreign shawl or lace mantle, and bonnets, not 
hats, whether in town or country. 

Costumes for picnics, excursions, and for sea- 
side wear should be oi a useful character. Nothing 
looks worse at these times than a thin, flimsy fabric, 
which will split and tear at every turn, or a faded, 
shabby silk ; and nothing looks better than some 
strong material, either one that will wash or other- 
wise, but of such a description that it will look 
almost as well at the end of a day*s hard wear as 
at the beginning. 

Yachting dresses are generally made of serge or 
tweed, as those materials are unspoilable by sea air 
and water, and at the same time possess warmth 
and durability. 

The dresses worn by lawn-tennis players have 
various distinctive features. Wool, much or little, 
should in some measure form the material, for 
health's sake, as a preventive of chills being taken ; 
therefore cashmere, serge, and flannel are chosen. 
As the dress should not be heavy, fineness of wool 
and lightness of weight of material have to be con- 
sidered. The bodice is usually made full, and the 
skirt is short, and not burdened with many frills 
and flounces. But within these boundary lines, 
prettiness and embellishments can be introduced 
— combinations of colours, bright ribbons, and 
various other adornments will give the dress an 
attractive appearance. A receptacle for the tennis 
balls is sometimes part of the player's costume. 
An ornamental and useful one should be arranged, 
made of the same material as the dress. Its form 
can be that of a flat pocket, or a bag, suspended 
from the waist. . Hats of every variety are worn, 
Qi all shapes and sizes. They should in some 

The Toilet, 8i 

degree suit the rest of the costume in style and 

And next of indoor dresses. 

A lady's morning dress should be simple and 
refined, and suited to the time of day. No old 
" company " gown should exhibit itself and its 
shabbiness in the morning light, but a dress fresh 
as the mom itself; as inexpensive as you please, but 
clean and appropriate it must be. Lace, unless 
of a thick description, is not worn with morning 
attire. Honiton and Brussels would be quite out of 
place. Neither is much jewellery consistent ; plain 
gold and silver ornaments are permissible, but 
never precious stones, except in rings. 

When visiting at a friend's house the morning 
jdress may be of a slightly superior style ; for in- 
stance, a white embroidered dress may be worn 
where one of coloured cotton would be used at 
home, or a velveteen instead of a serge one ; but 
remember that " great external display is generally 
said to be employed to hide internal vulgarity," and 
we know of nothing which evinces not only greater 
want of taste, but also ignorance of the habits of 
good society, than smartness in morning attire, 
and especially a lavish display of jewellery. 

Again, a dinner dress differs from that worn at 
a ball, although they both may be termed "full 
dress." For the former occasions silks and satins, 
velvets and brocades, are the materials chosen, and 
are trimmed with lace. The neck and arms of the 
wearer are now generally covered, excepting at a 
specially " full-dress " dinner ; the bodice is made 
high, but open in front, and the sleeves reach the 

Of late years young women have so arranged 


82 Good Society, 

their hair that extra adornments have not been in 
much favour — a jewelled ornament placed accord- 
ing to fancy, a decorative comb, or bow of ribbon, 
arranged in the manner most becoming to the 
shape of the head, or the style in which the hair is 
dressed, are employed. Older ladies wear caps 
composed of flowers, of feathers, of pearls, of fine 
lace or combinations of lace with one or more of 
the above-named. 

In the ball-room nothing but complete full dress 
should be worn. For young people dresses of 
fabrics of those textures which do not look thick 
and heavy are chosen, such as surah silk, tulle, net, 
gauze, and the like, trimmed with lace and flowers. 
The bodice is made low, with short sleeves; or 
cut open in front and at the back, with shoulder- 
straps, and sleeves to the elbow. Extremes in the 
forms of the dresses worn on these occasions 
attract observation, but not admiration. 

The flowers worn on these occasions are gener- 
ally artificial, because natural ones so soon fall to 
pieces from the heat of the room and the move- 
ments of the dancers. 

The dress of the chaperons should be similar in 
character to that worn at a dinner. Jewellery is 
generally worn in sets ; ornaments never look so 
well if pieces of different sets are displayed to- 
gether; that is to say, if diamonds are in the 
brooch, a necklet of pearls and earrings set with 
emeralds would not look well if worn on the same 
occasion. All the ornaments should match in 
character as much as possible, but variety is allowed 
in the matter of bracelets. 

The bride's costume now demands attention. 
Formerly magnificence and costliness were studied 

The Toilet. 83 

before elegance and grace. We flatter ourselves 
that in our time bridal attire is more worthy of ad- 
miration, though not as gorgeous as of yore. His- 
tory tells us that the bridal dress of one lady — a 
royal one, it is true, but subjects always follow as 
closely as they may the fashions set them by their 
sovereigns — was composed of velvet and cloth of 
gold, and the weight of it was sixty pounds ! Brides 
of the present day are dressed entirely in white, 
unless for a second marriage, when it is usual to 
choose some delicate colour for the dress, such as 
silver grey, pearl-white, or dove-colour, and also to 
wear a bonnet instead of the virgin veil. The dress 
of a young bride is made of soft-textured silk or satin 
or brocade, trimmed with flowers and rich white lace, 
and a large veil of the same description of lace as that 
on the dress. This is placed on the head so as to fall 
on to the skirt of the dress, equally behind and in 
front. The wearing of the veil appears to have 
originated with the Anglo-Saxons, whose custom it 
was to perform the ceremony of marriage under a 
square piece of cloth, which was held at each 
corner by a tall man over the bridegroom and the 
bride, for the purpose of concealing her blushes. 
If the bride hed been married before, the veil was 
dispensed with. 

Some twenty or thirty years ago it was correct 
to wear " full dress " at a wedding ; that is, the 
bride's dress was made low, with short sleeves, and 
the bridegroom wore an evening suit. Now, morn- 
ing attire is proper for gentlemen, and the bride's 
costume too is much more simple. A wreath of 
white flowers is worn under the veil, white gloves 
and shoes, and a bouquet composed entirely of 
white flowers. Any great display of jewellery is in 
F 2 

84 Good Society, 

bad taste, and the little that may be allowed should 
not be florid or elaborate. A set of pearls looks 
well, or something of the same plain and simple 

There is more variety in bridesmaids' dresses 
than in that of a bride. A picturesque costume is 
often chosen which combines two colours, or is 
made entirely of one shade of colour. The hats 
or bonnets are often composed of the same ma- 
terial as the dress, or else of that which trims it. 
The flowers worn are generally those which would 
be naturally blooming at that season. Sometimes 
veils of plain tulle are worn, and wreaths take the 
place of bonnets. When this is the case the veil 
does not fall over the face, like that of the bride, 
but entirely down the back. All the bridesmaids 
are dressed alike, and their bouquets are composed 
of coloured flowers. Neither the bride nor her 
maids, when veils are worn, wear anything over 
their shoulders except their dresses and veils. 

The young ladies who do not hold the office of 
bridesmaids should choose some dainty dress ma- 
terial. If children are present at a wedding, girls 
look the best in costumes of white or pale colours, 
and little boys in some fancy costume, or in velvet 
suits made after the fashion of the Royal pages- 
in-waiting of bygone days. 

The older guests at a wedding should choose 
some handsome, rich material, and have it trimmed 
with either white or black lace. Over their 
shoulders should be worn a lace mantle or one 
of silk or satin, and their bonnets trimmed with 
feathers and flowers. 

Formerly mourning was worn both for a longer 
period and of a much deeper character than is usual 

The Toilet, 85 

at the present time. Two years was not considered 
too long a time for a near relative, such as father 
or mother. Now, one year for relations of that 
degree, and six months for uncles, aunts, or cousins, 
is the general time. In these days it is considered 
better taste to wear plainer and less heavy, expen- 
sive, and ostentatious habiliments than' heretofore. 
Widows wear their weeds, which consist of crape 
dress, large black silk cloak, crape bonnet and veil, 
plain muslin collar and broad cuffs (or " weepers," 
as they are termed), and "widow's cap," usually for 
a year, and then discontinue the particular signs 
which distinguish a widow, such as cap, weepers, 
and veil, and wear ordinary mourning for as long a 
time as they may wish. Deep mourning is consi- 
dered to be woollen fabrics and crape. What is 
called "second mourning" is dull black silk or 
cashmere, with or without crape. The third stage, 
which is called "half mourning," is black and 
white. Complimentary mourning is black with- 
out crape. 

Of course it will be thought that there cannot 
be much to say about men's toilets, since they are 
supposed never to think about dress, nor talk 
about it, and rarely to change their fashions. I 
have said very little about them yet, it is true ; but 
had I space at my command I could write pages 
to show how in every age the art of dress has been 
one of the leading studies of the masculine mind. 

An old Anglo-Saxon chronicler writes that the 
young men of his day were more foppish and vain 
of their appearance than the ladies, and to prove 
his words he adduces the following reasons : that 
they used to comb their hair every day, bathed 
every Saturday, often changed their clothes, and 

86 Good Societv, 

used many other such frivolous means for setting 
off the beauty of their persons ! Then we read that 
in Henry I/s time men vied with women in the 
length of their locks, and wherever these were 
wanting they put on false tresses. During the time 
of James I. the beaux wore long love-locks, and 
sometimes stuck flowers behind their ears ; and a 
certain Earl of Pembroke, a man far from being an 
effeminate character, is represented as wearing ear- 
rings ! Tales might be told of the wrought night- 
caps, which were embroidered in gold and silk for 
physicians, and in black and white for the clergy. 
Pepys, in his quaint, open, simple way, thus dis- 
closes to us the vanity of the sex in his day, for he 
not only jots down the different costumes noticed 
by him as worn by his fair acquaintances, but a great 
many pages are devoted to descriptions of his own 
apparel. Here is one out of the many like pas- 
sages with which his Diary abounds : — 

"Oct. 30. — ;^43 worse than I was last month. 
But it hath chiefly arisen from my laying out in 
clothes for myself and wife, viz. : for her about ;^i2, 
and for myself ;^5 5 or thereabouts. Having made 
myself a velvet cloak, two new cloth shirts, both 
black and plain ; a new shag gown, trimmed with 
gold buttons and twist ; with a new hat and silk 
tops for my legs ; two periwigs, whereof the one 
cost me ;^3, and the other thirty shillings. These 
not worn yet, but begin next month, God will- 

The dress of that day must have added greatly to 
the splendour and gaiety of the coup d^ceil on all 
occasions, while the sombre, tame appearance of 
ours decidedly detracts from it. 

The dress of Richard Coeur de Lion as a bride- 

The Toilet. 87 

groom was a satin tunic of a rose colour, belted 
round the waist ; a mantle of striped silver tissue, 
brocaded with silver crescents ; and on his head a 
rose-coloured bonnet, brocaded in gold with figures 
of animals. The bridegroom of fifty years ago 
appeared in light-blue tail-coat, with gold buttons, 
white waistcoat, knee-breeches, shoes and buckles, 
the ordinary evening suit of that period. The 
bridegroom of to-day is dressed in morning 'attire 
— dark frock-coat, with waistcoat, and trousers of 
some fashionable shade, and scarf or tie of a tint 
which harmonises with the rest of the suit. The 
other gentlemen present at a wedding wear the 
same style of dress. At a fete champHre given by 
Queen Mary, the gentlemen who attended Princess 
Elizabeth were attired in russet damask and blue 
satin, with caps of silver cloth and blue plumes. 
At garden parties in town the men wear frock- 
coats, either dark-blue, grey, or black, white waist- 
coats, light trousers, and silk hats. 

For seaside and country use, a complete suit of 
dark-blue serge or mixed tweed is found the most 
suitable wear. 

The present style of evening dress has been 
much abused as so closely resembling that worn 
by waiters. The black tail-coat, waistcoat (some- 
times white), and trousers, and white tie, present a 
sombre not to say a gloomy appearancie, and 
furnish no scope for variety from year to year, 
except in the shape and cut. 

Having described the different styles of men's 
dress, it may be as well to remark that what 
has been said in the former part of the chapter 
about "suitability'* equally applies to their cos- 
tumes as to that of ladies. For instance, when 

88 Good Society, 

it is said that a tweed suit is worn in the country, 
it must not be supposed that that costume is 
there suitable for every occasion and at all times 
of the day. On some occasions neither the tweed 
costume nor the evening dress suit would be ap- 
propriate, but the intermediate dress should be 
worn — a suit such as is usually donned on Sundays 
either in town or country — black frock-coat, 
coloured trousers, and dark tie or scarf. No at- 
tempt should ever be made to combine morning 
and evening dress; they should always be quite 
distinct the one from the other. 

It is not considered good taste for a man to wear 
much jewellery. A plain, handsome ring, studs, 
and sleeve-links, a watch-chain without pendants, 
will always look more seemly than a great display 
of elaborate ornaments. 

Men should wear gloves in the street, or at a 
ball; when paying a call, driving, riding, and in 
church; but not usually in the country, and not 
at a dinner. But of all the various articles which 
compose the male attire, there is perhaps not one 
which has so much character and expression as the 
head-dress. "A neat, well-brushed, short-napped 
gentlemanly hat, put on with a certain air, gives a 
look of distinction and respectability to the whole 



"Things to be thought of" — Interview with Father-in-Law 
— Engagement Ring — Wedding Presents — Etiquette of 
Courtship — The Bridesmaids — The Licence and Banns 
— Bridegroom's Presents to Bride and her Maids — Day 
before the Wedding — Wedding Day — The Ceremony — 
The Breakfast — The Departure — Amusements for the 
rest of the Day. 

" And all went merry as a marriage bell." 


" she look'd, she blush'd consent ; 

He grasped her hand, to church they went." 

If all courtships and weddings were conducted in 
the very summary and abrupt manner described in 
the above lines, this chapter would be a super- 
fluous one ; but, in truth, there is a multitude of 
things to be done at the time of an event of this 
kind, and a thousand preparations to be made 
beforehand. Indeed, a wedding necessitates much 
thought and labour and numberless arrangements, 
from the time when the happy day is fixed upon 
up to the very last minute of the day itself. The 
wear and tear of mind is indescribable, more par- 
ticularly to the members of the bride-elect's family. 
The trousseau — whom to ask to be bridesmaids — 
the guests to be invited to the wedding and to the 
wedding-feast— who ought to be invited to stay in 
the house during the time — how to provide for 
visitors who cannot be so accommodated — the 

90 Good Society, 

perplexing question whether hospitality is to take 
the form of breakfast, luncheon, or afternoon tea — 
the amusement of the guests for the rest of the day 
— these and all the thousand and one details con- 
sequent on them are no light burden to support. 
Of course, in one sense, it is all a pleasant kind of 
" worry." 

From time immemorial weddings have been con- 
sidered by most nations to be occasions for feasting 
and rejoicing. This idea has been carried out in 
different ways, but all agree that happiness and 
merriment should be the prevailing sentiments. I 
have heard of but one exception. Madame Pfeiffer 
tells us that there is an Eastern country wherein 
the custom is for the bride, after the marriage cere- 
mony — which is performed in the forenoon — to sit 
for the remainder of the day in a comer of the 
room with her face to the wall. She is not allowed 
to answer any one whatever, still less is she per- 
mitted to speak herself. This silence, it appears, 
is intended to typify the sorrow of the bride at 
changing her condition. 

But there are several preliminaries to consider 
before speaking of the eventful day. Having 
wooed and won the faire ladye, the happy suitor 
has next to undergo the dreaded ordeal of asking 
her father's or her guardian's consent. It is the 
fashion in novels to depict all fathers on these 
occasions as stern, with adamantine hearts. In 
real everyday life they are to be met with here 
and there, and exist, we must suppose, on purpose 
to prove in those cases the truth of the old 
adage, that " the course of true love never does 
run smoothe." 

It is said that in the olden times of our countr}', 

Marriage, 91 

the women made the advances, and often became 
the suitors ; but it is not upon record whether they 
asked the consent of their future fathers-in-law. 

In cases where the lady possesses a large fortune, 
or where the gentleman has little besides love to 
offer, it is considered the more honourable course 
for him to seek the parents' consent before the 
daughter's, and to ajsk their permission to lay his 
heart at her feet However this may be, the first 
interview between two men in this position must 
perforce be an uncomfortable one. It is a father's 
duty to go thoroughly into the subject — to examine 
future prospects, to weigh the purse, to speak of 
deeds — not " doughty deeds," but parchment ones 
— and settlements, and dower. All these practical 
matters — matters so essential to the future happi- 
ness and well-being of the young couple — must oe 
spoken of and talked over, in order that there be 
no rash vows — no need for disagreement in the 

Nervous, timid suitors often try to evade this 
trying ordeal by writing their petition instead of 
preferring it personally, which is but a weak mode 
of procedure, we are inclined to think ; as should 
the consent be given it is only a postponement 
of the inevitable ; and should it be withheld the 
chance is lost of trying persuasive eloquence, or 
of offering further explanations — for **to write is 
to speak beyond hearing, and none stand by to 

The ceremony of betrothal, which still exists in 
many lands, is no longer observed in ours. In 
Holland all the friends and neighbours of the 
engaged couple assemble and celebrate it by an 
extensive consumption of hriudsuker (bridal sugar) 

92 Good Society. 

and briuditranen (bridal tears), as the spiced wine 
drunk on that occasion is figuratively named. In 
England it was once the custom to break in half 
a gold or silver coin, in token of a verbal contract 
of marriage and promise of love, each party trea- 
suring a half. Now it is the fashion for the fiance 
to give his fiancee a ring of a plain though hand- 
some description, one that can be worn afterwards 
as a guard to the wedding-ring. There is a super- 
stition forbidding the ring to be set either with 
opals or emeralds — the former because they denote 
change, the latter jealousy. The Gypsy ring, a 
broad band with the stones (diamonds, pearls, 
rubies, or turquoises) let in, as it were, in a circle 
round the ring, is a favourite and pretty choice. 
The engagement ring of the Princess of VVales was 
one of this description, and the stones were so 
selected and set that their initial letters formed the 
name of " Bertie," that being the pet name of the 
royal bridegroom-elect. If a simple inexpensive 
ring be required, a band of gold, chased, but with- 
out stones, may be used. The engagement ring is 
worn on the third finger of the left hand, by itself, 
until the wedding ring is placed on the same finger, 
when the engagement ring acts as its keeper. 

When the engagement takes place, the relations 
of the happy man should immediately express a 
wish to be introduced to his fiancke^ if they are 
strangers to her, in order that they may welcome 
her as a future member of their family. If they 
live in the immediate neighbourhood, they call 
upon her and her parents ; if at a distance, they 
invite her to pay them a visit, when her lover 
accompanies her and introduces her to his family. 

The engagement should be announced to all 

Marriage, 93 

relations and friends, who should at once offer 
their congratulations to the bride-elect and to her 
parents, either personally or by letter. 

Directly people hear of the contemplated mar- 
riage of an acquaintance, the first thought which 
crosses their mind is, "What shall we give them?" 
— a most difficult question to answer, and one 
which is the cause of much cogitation to the 
anxious and bewildered donor. 

It would seem as if people's ideas always run 
in the same grooves in this matter, to judge from 
the litde variety displayed in the selection. We 
have heard of as many as a dozen fish-slices 
finding their way into the young couple's keeping ; 
and as to butter-knives, they are apt to muster as 
strong as pigeon-pies at a picnic. What a pity it 
is that there is not a committee of friends ap- 
pointed to arrange this important business ! Much 
perplexity and doubt might thus be saved. Some 
people avoid the difficulty by sending a sum of 
money to the bride-elect, to be spent by her on 
what she wishes. This plan is becoming very 

But what are the affianced ones doing all this 
time ? Not appearing in public without a chape- 
ron, it is to be hoped. The office of chaperon, 
though an honorary one, is generally deemed to 
be a laborious post, and on these occasions it is — 
we were going to say, a disagreeable one. At any 
rate, it cannot be agreeable to be in the position 
of being one too many, and where you are not 
wanted. This third person who plays propriety is 
also known by the name of ** Gooseberry." The 
origin of this term is now quite forgotten. Perhaps 
Bums explains it when he says — 

94 Good Society, 

" It's hardly in a body's power 
To keep at times from being sour." 

Lovers should not make a practice of absenting 
themselves, or of being so entirely absorbed with 
each other as to completely ignore or neglect others 
whose company they may be in. Neither is it con- 
sidered good manners to display demonstrative 
affection continually, or publicly. **A11 frothy 
tendernesses and amorous boilings-over are insults 
on and affronts to company," says Swift. It is to 
be feared that very often " we that are lovers run 
into strange capers." 

It is the lady's privilege to choose the happy day, 
and nowadays any one of the three hundred and 
sixty-five may be fixed upon ; but there was a time 
when the choice was restricted to certain seasons. 
An almanack for the year 1678 inserts the following 
notice : — 

" Times prohibiting marriage : — Marriage comes 
in on the 13th day of January, and at Septuagesima 
Sunday it is out again until Low Sunday ; at which 
time it comes in again, and goes not out until Ro- 
gation Sunday ; thence it is forbidden until Trinity 
Sunday, from whence it is unforbidden until Advent 
Sunday ; but then it goes out and comes not in 
again till the 13th day of January next following." 

Although the choice of our young people is not 
thus curtailed, we advise them to decide if possible 
upon summer as the season, and the country as 
the place. Winter weddings and those in town 
are alike profoundly dispiriting. "Happy is the 
bride that the sun shines on," and how can we rely 
upon winterly rays, they are so transient and un- 
certain ? 

Then in a town, and especially in London, every- 

Marriage, 95 

thing and everybody looks so much the reverse of 
sentimental. It seems the sole aim of the official's 
to get the whole affair over with as much speed as 
possible. The crowd which collect around the 
church have no interest in the bride beyond her 
dress. They only gather out of idle curiosity. And 
then in a town where are the flowers to strew the 
bride's path ? We heard of this once being at- 
tempted in London ; but, said the relater, ** the 
camellias and azaleas had a palpable florist look 
about them, not in the least like those grown in 
a country greenhouse. They were cut with an 
economy of stalk and leaf which spoke plainly of 
a professional knife." 

But we must not wander. The day being fixed, 
the lady has now to take into serious consideration 
how many bridesmaids she will have, and who they 
must be ; while her lover — lucky man — has no 
such weight on his mind. Whatever the number 
of attendants on his bride, he only requires one 
to support himself, and that one is either a 
brother or his own most intimate friend, who for 
the nonce is called " the best man." 

The number of bridesmaids varies from two to 
twelve. Six or eight are the favourite numbers, but 
much depends upon how many near relatives, 
sisters, or cousins, the bride and her groom hap- 
pen to have. The selection is made from the two 
families as a rule, and the chief bridesmaid is the 
bride's sister, if she have one. 

We have elsewhere spoken of the dresses to 
be worn by the bridesmaids on these occasions, 
so now we will only speak in passing as to 
with whom the choice should rest. This is a 
much-vexed question, and often causes serious 

96 Good Society. 

dissatisfaction — not perhaps openly expressed, but 
inwardly felt The bride has her ideas on the 
subject of material and colour and style, and 
it is only right that her wishes should be mainly 
consulted; but let her consider others as well as 
herself. If she does not present the costumes, 
she should be careful not to demand expensive 
ones, which will drain her friends' purses some- 
what too much. Girls are often very thoughtless 
in. this respect, and insist upon very handsome and 
expensive dresses^ which are frequently of no use 
after the day for which they were ordered. And 
then as to colour, som6 colours are particularly 
unbecoming to one person, others to another. 
Endeavour, therefore, to arrange a colour and style 
of dress such as will suit the majority. 

Often when there are a number of bridesmaids, 
half the number are attired in one colour, half in 
another. Sometimes the choice rests with the 
chief " maid " ; but we think all should have a voice 
in the matter, and that they all should consider and 
try to fall in with the wishes of the bride-elect. 

But w^hile his j^a/icee is arranging her maids and 
their dresses, the bridegroom must not be idle 
There are various duties devolving upon himself 
which demand his attention, first and foremost 
the arrangements for the ecclesiastical part of the 

There are four ways by which to get married in 
England. The first is by special Hcence, which 
enables you to be married at any time and at any 
place, but is not often made use of, being a very 
expensive method. The cost of such a licence is 
fifty pounds, and it is only obtainable through an 

Marriage, 97 

Then there is an ordinary licence, which can be 
procured either at Doctors' Commons or through 
a clergyman (the most ordinary way), who, how- 
ever, must be a surrogate, and also resident in 
the diocese in which the marriage is to take 
place. It also necessitates a personal interview 
between one of the parties and the clergyman, as 
he or she must swear that both are of age ; or if 
minors, that they have the consent of their parents 
or guardians. As the marriage takes place in the 
parish in which the lady resides, it sometimes 
happens that she is obliged to apply for the licence, 
if the gentleman lives at a distance and finds it 
impossible to take two journeys, one to procure a 
licence and one to procure a wife. A fair friend of 
mine was once placed in this awkward predicament 
of having to procure her own licence. One of the 
parties must have resided during at least fifteen days 
in the parish in which the wedding is to take place. 
The fee for a licence \^ £2 13s. 6d., including los. 
for stamp. The licence may be used any time 
during the three months following the date of issue. 

To be married by banns is considered to be the 
most orthodox way of proceeding, as well as the 
most economical. Banns must be published in the 
church of the parish in which the lady lives, and 
also in that in which the gentleman resides, for three 
continuous Sundays prior to the marriage ; and the 
banns hold good for the three months follow- 
ing. The parties must have resided fifteen days 
previously in the parish. 

Or the knot may be tied at a licensed chapel, or 

at the office of the Superintendent Registrar. In 

either of these cases it is requisite to give notice at 

the said office of the intended marriage, three weeks 


98 Good Society, 

previous to the ceremony, and to obtain a certificate 
to the effect that this has been done, for both of 
which forms the modest sum of one shilling is 
charged. Should the marriage be by licence, the 
notice need not be given so long beforehand, for 
the marriage may be solemnised after the expiration 
of one whole day next after the day of the entry of 
the notice. For instance, if notice was given on a 
Tuesday, the marriage might take place on the 
Thursday following. The presence of the Registrar 
is required, both at the chapel and at the office, in 
which latter place a short ceremony is gone through 
before the Superintendent Registrar (who receives 
nothing for his trouble), which ceremony legalises 
marriages contracted in this manner. 

The clergymen asked to officiate are, generally 
speaking, the relatives or old family friends of the 
bride-elect ; but it is etiquette to invite the clergy- 
man of the church in which the ceremony is to take 
place also to assist, and the rule is that he should 
in any case receive the fee, even if he be not present 
on the occasion, and also that he should receive 
an invitation to the breakfast. 

"People in England," writes a French lady, 
"have no notion of what trouble it is to get mar-- 
ried in France " — especially if one of the pair be a 
foreigner. A certificate of baptism is required, 
together with that of the father and mother's mar- 
riage ; that of burial, too, if dead ; and a written 
consent of grandfather and grandmother, if the 
latter are alive and the parents dead. The names 
of the parties are then put up on the door of the 
Mairie for eleven days. 

To return, the bridegroom has to buy the ring, 
that plain gold circlet which is to remain a pledge 

Marriage, 99 

of an indissoluble union. This should be thick, 
made of fine gold, and of good workmanship, fitted 
to endure constant, every-day wear, for the wedding 
ring should never be drawn off the finger after it has 
been placed there on the wedding day. It is usual 
to present the bride with some handsome piece of 
jewellery, such as a necklet or brooch, which she 
wears for the first time on her bridal day. The 
bridesmaids also generally receive a gift from the 
bridegroom, lockets, fans, or rings, and these are all 
alike given as remembrances of the day and in 
acknowledgment of their services. The bride- 
groom presents the bride and her maids with their 
bouquets. Such are the onerous duties of the 

And now as to the guests to be invited. The 
circle of acquaintance is ever widening, but a line 
must be drawn which will shut out many. A custom 
has arisen for the parents of the bride-elect to invite 
all friends, who are not asked as guests, to witness 
the ceremony. [Seepage 59.] Everybody is glad to 
" haste to a wedding," but only relations and one 
or two old friends should be invited to the actual 
festivity. The father and mother of the bridegroom 
ought to be treated as the chief guests throughout, 
and special attention should be paid to all the 
members of his family. They should stay in the 
house, as also should the bridesmaids. 

The whirl and bustle of the day, or we might say 
days, before a wedding is not equalled on any other 
occasion. Everybody is in such a state of excite- 
ment that an uninitiated spectator might imagine 
that the whole household, and not one member 
merely, was going to be married. Apart from the 
arrangement of the room in which the refection is 
G 2 

loo Good Society. 

to be, the trying-on of dresses, and the packing of 
the bride-elect*s robes, there are the presents to 
distract the attention, and these have to be arranged 
for exhibition. It is now customary for the bride's 
mother to issue cards for an " At Home '* on the 
afternoon previous to the wedding day, that friends 
and acquaintances who are not invited to the 
morrow's ceremony may see the presents and 
bid good-bye to the bride. 

The guests who have been invited to stay in the 
house arrive some time during the previous day. 
The bridegroom and his **best man" also make 
their appearance, but are only guests for the even- 
ing, as it is not customary for them to remain in 
the house of the bride's father the night before the 
wedding. There is usually a dinner-party, and 
sometimes this evening is chosen for the signing of 
the marriage settlements. With what anxiety is the 
weather watched — that great adjunct or drawback 
to every festivity ! Well, whether fog, rain, thunder, 
or sunshine prevail, the ceremony must take place, 
and within a circumscribed time too. People creep 
as near to the end of this prescribed time as they 
possibly can, until sometimes it is quite painful as 
well as exciting to witness the race between parson 
and clock. The law is very strict on this question 
of time, and severe indeed is the punishment if its 
bounds are overstepped. Hear its stern order to 
the officiating priest — ** The rite of marriage is to 
be performed between the prescribed hours, upon 
pain of suspension and felony with fourteen years' 

Until a recent date the hours apportioned for the 
celebration of the rite of marriage were from eight 
a.m. to the hour of noon. A welcome extension of 

Marriage, loi 

time has lately been granted, and now the ceremony 
may take place at any time between eight a.m. and 
three p.m. These added hours have altered the 
home arrangements in some respects. The break- 
fast banquet is being gradually banished, and its 
place is often taken by an elaborate afternoon tea 
at four o'clock. Half-past two o'clock is now the 
fashionable hour for weddings to take place. 

The bride usually breakfasts in her own room, 
and. meets the bridegroom for the first time that day 
at the altar, where he, with his " best man," should 
be waiting to receive her. All contretemps on these 
occasions are particularly awkward and uncomfort- 
able, so we would impress the duty of punctuality 
on every one concerned. The guests drive first to 
the church, and take their seats in the chancel. 
The bridesmaids follow, and take up their position 
at the church door. The bridegroom is mean- 
while waiting at the altar, supported by the 
" best man." A murmur and hum heard outside 
tell that the principal personage of the day is 
coming. The bridesmaids form an avenue ; the 
bride, leaning on the arm of her father or guardian, 
passes through, the bridesmaids close in, and the 
procession moves up the aisle. The bride stands 
on the left hand of the bridegroom, with her chief 
maid of honour near her, ready to take bouquet and 
gloves when the time arrives for putting on the 

Our newly-wedded grandmothers were heartily 
kissed, as soon as the service was concluded, by 
their husband and relatives, new and old. Our 
mothers were more prudish, and waited for the 
seclusion of the vestry before offering their fair 
cheeks ; their daughters have abolished the 

io2 Good Societw 

ceremony altogether. Our grandfathers were 
adorned with huge rosettes which they called 
"true-love knots," made of various coloured rib- 
bons, carnation and white, gold and silver ; these 
they wore on their hats, both on their nuptial 
day and for several weeks after. Our fathers wore 
smaller ones of white pinned on the breast of their 
coats, which they called *^ favours." Their sons do 
not exhibit these decorations, which only appear 
on servants in these days. 

Altogether, not so much stir is now made at a 
wedding. Even the sending of cards to friends has 
been abandoned. 

In the country, a bride's first appearance in a 
church is taken as a sign that she is " At Home." 
The old custom of offering wine- to visitors on the 
occasion of their first call upon the bride is now no 
longer observed in either town or country. Small 
pieces of bridecake and tea are offered. 

At the conclusion of the service the bride 'and 
bridegroom proceed first to the vestry, where the 
register has to be filled in by the clergyman, and 
signed by the newly-married pair, together with two 
or three witnesses, the principal bridesmaid and 
** best man " being generally the attesting parties ; 
upon the latter also devolves the duty of dis- 
tributing the fees. 

The ceremonial of the Church of England has 
alone been selected as an example, and though 
there are other ways of performing this rite used 
by other denominations, the social usages are in 
all cases the same. The happy couple leave the 
church first, followed soon after by the bride's 
mother, in order that she may be at home to 
receive the guests, who return in the order in 

Marriage, loj 

which they went. As they arrive they are ushered 
into the drawing-room, when they shake hands with 
the bride and bridegroom, and offer them their 
congratulations, and then generally turn their at- 
tention to the presents, which should be exhibited 
on tables set apart for this special use. The formal 
repast, or informal tea, whichever may have been 
decided upon, takes place about half an hour after 
the return from church. 

In these modern times the bride sometimes does 
not appear at the formal banquet. Such retire- 
ment on her part always causes disappointment to 
the guests. If she is present, the newly-married 
pair sit side by side. If the table be a long 
one, they are placed on one side ; if of the horse- 
shoe shape, which is considerably the best, they are 
at the apex. The mother of the bride occupies 
the seat on the bridegroom's right hand, the father 
of the bride that on her left hand. The brides- 
maids are seated immediately opposite. The 
tedious custom of proposing a series of toasts at a 
wedding breakfast has been suppressed by the 
common-sense of modern times ; and even the 
breakfast itself now often is superseded by after- 
noon tea and light refreshments, especially 
when the wedding takes place at the fashionable 
and commodious hour of half-past two in the 
afternoon. It is the bride's duty to cut the cake. 
Of course an incision should previously be made. 
A knife is handed to her, which she puts in the 
cleft, and succeeds in getting a slice on to a plate. 
This is cut into small pieces and handed round, 
and everybody is expected to partake. 

At the conclusion of the repast the bride retires 
to her room to change her dress and don her 

164 Good Society. 

travelling costume. The hour of departure is al- 
ways a trying one. Charles Lamb, in describing a 
wedding, says : — " I trembled for the hour which at 
length approached, when, after a protracted break- 
fast of three hours — if stores of cold fowls, tongues, 
botargoes, fruits, wines, and cordials can deserve 
so meagre an appellation — the coach was an- 
nounced which was to carry off the bride and 
bridegroom. The chief performers in the morning 
pageant vanished, we idly bent our eyes upon one 
another. No one knew whether to take their leave 
or stay.'* No mention is here made of throwing 
old shoes, though it is a custom which has been 
long established, and one which royalty does not 
disdain to use at the present day. It is said to 
have been a symbol of renunciation, on the part 
of the bride's father, of all authority and dominion 
over her. Now it is merely regarded as wishing 
good luck, and a vent for the feelings consequent 
on separation; as is also rice, which is now fre- 
quently showered in great profusion over the 
couple. Those guests who are not staying in 
the house, or who are not, strictly speaking, 
part of the wedding party, should take their 
leave directly after the departure of the happy 
couple. It is rather a tax upon the entertainers 
to provide amusements and keep the spirits 
of the party from flagging throughout this long, 
long day. The wisest thing to do is to send all 
the young people for a drive. Lawn-tennis is 
rather a fatiguing pastime after a wedding, and it 
keeps the guests without change of scene all day ; 
nevertheless there are enthusiasts who prefer a 
game of this description to the more passive plea- 
sure of a drive. It is well on these occasions to keep 

Marriage, 105 

all the young people together as much as possible. 
The elder ones are glad to rest in their rooms, or 
discuss the events of the day among themselves in 
desultory chit-chat, and thus spend the hours until 
dinner, at which all the visitors collect again. 

Later in the evening a ball or evening party is 
often given in honour of the event, and to this 
entertainment as many people should be invited as 
possible, if it is to pass off with klat ; for, from our 
experience, those who have been in a state of ex- 
citement during so many hours cannot keep up 
their spirits and those of their home guests unless 
they have the help of a fresh and merry company. 



Immense Number and Variety of Household Appointments— 
A Good Manager — Styles proper for the different Rooms, 
Breakfast, Dining, and Drawing Rooms— Against " Best 
Rooms *' — Temperature of Rooms — Laying the Table — 
List of Requisites for Entertaining Twelve People. 

' ' I often wish'd that I had clear 
For life six hundred pounds a year, 
A handsome house to lodge a friend, 
A river at my garden's end." Swift. 

The above desire will be regarded as a particularly 
modest one in these ambitious days. When a 
similar wish is breathed in this nineteenth century, 
we fear that the word " thousands " stands some- 
times where " hundreds " does in the original. 

With the rapid strides of civilisation and refine- 
ment comes the love of luxury and the desire for 
means to gratify it. Then, too, temptations abound 
on every side. Invention has multiplied to a 
wonderful extent all the supposed requirements of 
a household, and art has adorned with grace and 
elegance all the commonplace routine of life. To 
furnish a house, what a task — what a pleasant as 
well as bewildering task, bewildering because of the 
great variety offered for choice. 

Household Appointments, 107 

What a number of things are now considered 
absolutely requisite that were undreamt of a few 
years ago ! All the "appointments" add materially 
to the cares of the housekeeper, and though we are 
told that to the ladies of the seventeenth century the 
superintendence of their household was a labour of 
great extent and responsibility, owing to the osten- 
tatious display made at the frequent banquets, still 
we say the task of one's housekeeper in the present 
day is no light one. The varied minutiae which 
encumber every department require the attention 
of the mistress, however good and well trained her 
servants may be, unless she can afford to have a 
housekeeper. In a properly-conducted household 
the machinery will be well looked after, and always 
work out of sight, and this applies to households 
of every size. It is quite a mistake to suppose 
that a large staff of servants is necessary for com- 
fort and perfect service. In a small house it often 
happens that the servants only get in one another's 
way. The whole matter lies in the proper manage- 
ment of the forces under command. " Order and 
method are gifts, as beauty and genius are. No 
two things differ more than hurry and dispatch. 
Hurry is the sign of a weak mind, and dispatch 
that of a strong one." * A good manager will 
never make an ostentatious display of her duties. 

Though not required, as her great-grandmothers 
were, to attend to the culinary department in 
person, the lady of the house will, from her own 
stock of knowledge, detect "the why and the 
wherefore " of any little mischance or failure com- 
mitted by cook, housemaid, or footman. This fault 

* Colton. 

io8 Good Society, 

or error will not be corrected or spoken of in 
company, but afterwards, when no one is by, the 
mistress will speak of what has gone wrong. 

If she presides over a large establishment, she 
will sanction no great parade of wealth ; if over a 
small one, let her remember that to manage a little 
well is a great merit. "He is a good wagoner that 
can turn in a little room." 

It is not my intention to specify the particulars 
of the furniture of each room, but simply to say 
what their general appearance should be. Each 
apartment should present a distinctive feature, and 
that of course a comfortable and pleasing one — in 
fact, a house should be so furnished that each room 
in which we sit should in turn appear to us to be, 
for the time being, the pleasantest room in the 
place. The interior should match the exterior in 
style and character. Massive old-fashioned furni- 
ture, however costly, will never look well in a 
modern villa. Neither will new-fashioned appoint- 
ments look so well in an old house ; but this last is 
not so much to be avoided as the former. Taste, 
we are told, is 

-a discerning sense 

Of decent and sublime, with quick disgust 

From things deformed or disarranged." AkensiJe, 

The morning-room should be cheerful and sun- 
shiny, and wear a domestic, cosy look. It is not 
fitted up with any particular style of furniture. The 
curtains and covers will be of some kind of small- 
patterned chintz or cretonne, with a carpet to 
match. Nothing very grand or very new should 
find its way into this apartment — nothing stiff or 
formal Tables here and there, and chairs of 

Household Appointments, 109 

different sorts and sizes, a stand with plants, a 
small piano, a low book-case — these are the 
principal features in a room of this description, a 
general tidy dtshabille pervading the whole. 

The fittings and furniture of the dining-room 
must be quiet and substantial, but not too 
elaborate. The most prominent feature is the 
sideboard. The dining-table used to rank high in 
beauty and finish, but now that is little cared for ; 
and, provided the top be a broad one, it may be 
of white or any kind of wood, in these degenerate 
days when the cloth is never removed for dessert. 

The carpet and drapery of this room should be 
dark, yet warm and bright-looking, and there must 
be no crowd of ornaments save pictures, either 
oil paintings or engravings — "a room hung with 
pictures is a room hung with thoughts." 

The library presents generally a sombre aspect ; 
its walls are lined with lofty book-shelves, and two 
or three tables for the purposes of holding writing 
materials, pamphlets, and papers, are put in con- 
venient positions. 

And now we enter the room which, though most 
persons try their best, so few succeed in furnishing 
and arranging tastefully ; for, after all, the arrange- 
ment of the furniture adds greatly to or takes away 
from the appearance of a drawing-room. This is, par 
excellence^ the lady's room — unless the house is large 
enough to afford her a boudoir — and the character 
of the lady herself may be told by inspecting that one 
room. How very seldom we see the model drawing- 
room ! No upholsterer's routine work should be 
visible here in stiff suites of furniture (except in 
case of a drawing-room reserved for special occa- 
sions) ; elegant refinement should reign predominant, 

no Good Society, 

cheerfulness should go hand in hand with taste. Easy 
chairs are here a sine qua non. There seems to be 
a natural affinity between civilised beings and easy 
chairs, for everybody secures one where possible ; 
therefore let them predominate in the drawing- 
room — some with high backs and some with low, 
some with straight backs and some with round, in 
all nooks and corners. Tables must be placed 
here, there, and everywhere, and yet not seem in 
the way; flowers or plants in vases, scattered 
about; and a variety of ornaments, simple or 
costly, as the case may be, but not too great 
a crowd. But the drawing-room will not be 
complete, nor yet have its properly comfortable 
look about it, unless there are plenty of books to 
be found on the tables, and these should be read- 
able and entertaining volumes of prose and poetry, 
illustrated works, and magazines, which will not 
only serve their original purpose, but also supply 
subjects for conversation at all times, and more 
especially during that mauvais quart d^heure which 
precedes a dinner. 

The greatest charm in such a room is, that it 
impresses you with the feeling that it is a resort con- 
stantly occupied, used, and enjoyed by the lady of 
the house. There is something indefinable, which 
chills and depresses one, on entering a room only 
used on very state occasions — a room that is just in- 
habited while receiving visitors ; a room where the 
fire-irons are arranged in stiff angles ; where every 
appliance is in formal array, and evidently never ex- 
ercised in daily wear ; where the tables are geomet- 
rically studded with smartly-bound unread volumes, 
and the prim couch and stiff chairs look as if they 
were meant for anything but to be sat upon. 

Household Appointments, hi 

Family comfort and enjoyment lie dead in a room 
of this description. This idea, once so prevalent, 
of having a "best room" is less general nowadays. 
It is a piece of folly and bad taste which has often 
been decried. A writer to the Connoisseur com- 
plains : " I have elegant apartments, but am afraid 
to enter them. All the furniture, except when 
we have company, is done up in paper; it is so 
genteel that we of the household must not use it 
commonly, which I consider a ridiculous absurdity 
and a great hardship." 

To ensure comfort in this and all rooms, care 
should be taken that they are equably heated, 
neither too hot nor too cold— so that one is not 
roasted by the fire on one side and frozen by a cold 
draught of air on the other. Francis, sometime 
Emperor of Austria, said that it required as much 
talent to warm a room as to govern a kingdom. 
Of course part of that talent must be supplied by 
the architect; but judicious management is also 
required to preserve the equability; and a room 
full of people will become irrevocably depressed 
and glum when they are half-stifled with heat or 
shivering with cold. 

In commencing housekeeping, novices are often 
in a difficulty how to ascertain the number of thingt? 
requisite — the amount of silver, glass, and china 
necessary for dinner-parties, for instance. I there- 
fore append a list, supposing twelve to be the 
greatest number of guests invited ; of course it is 
easy to calculate how many more sets would be 
required should the number of guests be increased, 
or to leave out many articles, such as ice-plates and 
spoons, &c., which might be considered super- 
flgities in some households. Before writing down 

112 Good Society, 

the list, I must impress on young housekeepers the 
fact — and it is one that needs remembering — that, 
however costly and varied the viands, no dinner- 
table will ever look well unless neatness and refine- 
ment are displayed in the minor details. Very 
much depends on there being a fine white linen 
damask cloth, without crease or crumple, placed 
very exactly on the table. You cannot be too 
formal or too prim in laying out a table. The glass 
must be cut (not clumsy moulded glass), without 
fleck or flaw, bright and clear ; the silver clean and 
polished to its utmost extent ; and a clever waiter 
or neat-handed waitress. Neat and tidy servants 
are essential to the credit of a household ; dirty and 
slovenly attendants stamp it with vulgarity. " The 
black battle-stain on a soldier's face is not vulgar, 
but the dirty face of a housemaid is," says Ruskin, 


Four dozen forks (the medium size is now used), 
one dozen table spoons, three dozen dessert, 
one dozen teaspoons, two gravy spoons, six sauce 
ladles, one dozen fish knives and forks, eight or 
twelve salts and spoons, eighteen dessert knives 
and forks, soup ladle, fish slice, asparagus tongs, 
twelve ice spoons, grape scissors, six gilt spoons 
for dessert dishes. 

Glass. — Two dozen tumblers, one dozen port 
glasses, two dozen sherry, one dozen hock, two 
dozen claret, one dozen champagne, one dozen 
finger-glasses, one dozen ice plates, glass jug and two 
goblets, six carafes with tumblers to match, four 

Household Appointments, 113 

decanters, claret-jug, ice-pail and tongs, eighteen 
dessert plates and six dishes. 

Table Linen. — Twelve table-cloths (six ordinary 
size and six larger), six long slips and six short 
ones for sides and ends of table, two dozen dinner 
napkins to match dinner cloths in pattern, six long 
narrow cloths for sideboard, six breakfast cloths, 
one dozen breakfast napkins, one dozen fish 
napkins, one dozen napkins for pastry and cheese, 
and two dozen d'oyleys. 




Eating and Drinking — Breakfasts in particular — Breakfasts in 
the Olden Time — Breakfasts of the Present Day — How to 
set the Table, and what to put on it — Wedding Breakfast — 
Hunt and Sportsmen's Breakfast — Breakfast Dishes for the 
Different Seasons. . 

' ' And then to breakfast with 
What appetite you have." 

''Richard I Hr 

Eating and drinking are, as we well know, an 
absolute necessity if we desire to keep life within 
us and these crazy frames of ours together. We 
are told repeatedly to "eat to live, and not live 
to eat" — an excellent precept, and one which we 
should do well to keep in mind if we wish for length 
of days. It has been calculated that, presuming a 
man has four meals a day regularly, he partakes 
during the year of 1,460 repasts ; and that if he 
lives to the age of sixty-five years he will have con- 
sumed a flock of 350 sheep, and those for dinner 
alone, and above thirty tons of liquids and solids. 
An alarming computation truly ; but fuel must be 
supplied if the machinery is to be kept going. 
" Venter proecepta non audit : poscit : appellate 
Non est tatnen tnolestus creditor: parvo dimittitur^ 

Breakfasts. 115 

St modo das illi quod debes^ non quod potest' says 
Seneca (The stomach listens to no precepts : it 
begs and clamours. And yet it is not an obdurate 
creditor; it is dismissed with a small payment, if 
only you give it what you oive^ and not as much as 
you can). 

This chapter will be devoted to the subject of 
breakfasts alone; the other meals will be treated 
each in their order. 

Breakfast is always a pleasant meal, both in 
winter and summer, spring and autumn; each 
season brings its particular enjoyment. Who will 
not join with the writer who says "that there is a 
delightful mixture of the lively and the snug in 
coming into one's breakfast-room of a cold morning 
and seeing everything prepared for us — a blazing 
grate (one of the first requisites for enjoyment at 
that period of the day and season is a good fire), a 
clean table-cloth and tea-things, together with 
tempting viands spread thereon? And if we be 
alone, is it not certainly a delicious thing to resume 
an entertaining book at a particularly interesting 
passage, with a hot cup of tea at one's elbow, and 
a piece of buttered toast in one's hand ? The first 
look at the page, accompanied by a co- existent bite 
of the toast, comes under the head of intensities," 
says this enthusiast And then in summer to enter 
a sunny, cheerful room (a breakfast-room should, 
if possible, be so situated as to catch the early rays 
of the sun), with its wide-open window, through 
which enters the cool, fresh morning air, the scent 
of flowers and the song of the birds ; the table 
prettily decked with buds and blossoms ; luscious, 
tempting fruit lying perdu in nests of green leaves; 
crisp rolls and golden butter, together with the 
H 2 

ii6 Good Society, 

more substantial dishes, which look quite able to 
stand a vigorous attack ! How cosy, and nice, and 
enjoyable all this is ! and then added to these 
external sources of pleasure there is that most power- 
ful spring of happiness of all, the innate sense of 
freshness and vigour which most people feel at that 
hour of the day, when a night's rest has refreshed 
tired bodies and soothed weary minds. Yes, 
whether we join the gathering round our table one 
of many, or sit down to it a solitary bachelor or a 
secluded old maid, the breakfast hour is a pleasant 
one. Sydney Smith liked breakfast parties, because, 
he said, no one was conceited before one o'clock in 
the day. But in these modern times the hours creep 
on later and later, and a meal at four p.m. is called 
a "breakfast." We trust that those who partake 
have in reality broken their fast at a much earlier 
hour, and that the term is merely a misnomer. 

"As soon as Phoebus' rays inspect us, 
First, sir, I read, and then to breakfast.'' 

That was the old custom, and there is a descrip- 
tion in an old book of two noblemen who, says 
the chronicler, " rose with the sun, as was the 
custom ; and after they had washed, dressed, and 
prayed, an attendant placed before them a very 
large pasty, upon a white napkin, and brought them 
wine, then said to them in faire words, like a man 
of sense : * Sirs, you shall eat if it please you, for 
eating early in the morning brings great health.' " 
Quite a primitive mode of breakfasting, but what was 
then usual. The viands and beverages placed on 
the tables of our ancestors came under the desig- 
nation of " plain plenty " ; no luxuries, no variety of 
dishes appeared on their boards, and the following 

Breakfasts, 117 

is a fair sample of an ordinary breakfast : " My lord 
has on his table at seven o'clock " (notice the hour 
is creeping nearer to noon) " a quart of beer and 
wine, two pieces of salt fish, six red herrings and 
four white ones, and on flesh days half a chine of 
beef or mutton boiled." Beef and brawn, herrings 
and sprats, seem to have been the staple dishes j 
and doubtless these heavy meals were very hastily 
dispatched by the good old English gentlemen. 
They had no letters to read, no newspapers to 
beguile them. Booted and spurred, equipped for 
the chase, they quaffed their cups of malmsey or 
beer, cut their hunches of bread and meat in the 
manner of the modern ploughboy, and, having 
eaten heartily and hastily, would ride away for the 
day through wood and field, or over down and 
fell. The fragant odour of cofiee had not been 
inhaled by them, and they were total strangers to 
the great beverage of our time — tea ; for not until 
the close of the seventeenth century did the 
berry from Mocha and the leaves from China 
make their appearance on English breakfast tables ; 
and the circumstance of a young man at Oxford 
drinking coffee is recorded as one worthy of re- 

But enough now of the days that are past. Let 
us turn to those which are before us ; and at the 
risk of being deemed partial, I must say that our 
breakfast tables are more inviting and present a 
more elegant appearance than did those of our 
more barbarous, if more chivalrous, ancestors. 
Delicate and refined habits of eating have replaced 
the coarse feeding of the Middle Ages. 

The breakfast table is very commonly a round one, 
but if the dining room is used, as is often the case 

ii8 Good Society. 

when there is a large party of guests, the mistress of 
the house often occupies the seat at table taken by the 
master at dinner. Before her are the tea and coffee 
equipage ; the cups and saucers close at hand ; next, 
the tea and coffee pots, sugar basin, cream jug, &c. 
In the centre of the table there should be a vase of 
flowers ; in summer a china bowl of freshly-gathered 
roses, or a bunch of wild flowers, is a pretty orna- 
ment; later in the year a deep plate filled with 
moss, and studded with asters, dahlias, or chrysan- 
themums, has a good effect ; at other seasons a 
fresh green fern — anything which adds brightness 
and grace to the table, but at the same time is not 
stiff" and formal. The arrangement of flowers for 
a breakfast table should never be so studied or 
formal as that for a dinner table, nor even as the 
drawing-room bouquets. They should possess the 
distinctive feature of elegant negligence and sim- 
plicity. Fruits flank the flowers, and are placed 
on dishes which match the tea service. Then the 
various eatables — such as eggs, potted meats, fish, 
&c. — are placed up and down the table, and are 
interspersed with racks of dry toast, hot rolls, tea- 
cakes, and muflfins, small loaves of brow^n and white 
bread, and dainty pats of butter within the reach of 
every one. The more substantial dishes — such as 
hams, tongues, and pies — are usually placed on a 
white cloth on the sideboard ; and at an ordinary 
breakfast the gentlemen help themselves and the 
ladies also. Fish is placed upon the table, and so 
are the hot dishes, such as kidneys, mushrooms, or 
fried bacon. Before each person is set a china 
plate like the breakfast service, on which is placed a 
napkin and a knife and fork beside it. This plate is 
used for butter, bread, or toast. The plates for the 

Breakfasts. 119 

meats are placed in small piles before each dish on 
the sideboard, so that at breakfast two plates are 
used at the same time ; the smaller one is kept, the 
other changed with each course. In France the 
dejeHner used to be commenced with an egg. A 
boiled egg. was placed before everybody, and every- 
body ate a toiled t%g. Then the vegetables 
are handed — asparagus — delicious sauce as an 
accompaniment, or pommes de terre f rites. After 
this hot fish, then meats, lastly fruits. The cups 
and saucers are placed beside each person, and 
not in formal array in front of the lady presiding, 
and the teapot is passed round together with the 
sugar and cream. There is one thing we may learn 
with advantage from the French mode of serving 
breakfast, and that is their liberal supply of plates. 
They are not, as a rule, noted for being " nice " in 
their ways, but they are worthy of imitation in this 
particular respect by the good people at home, 
who are generally inclined to be stingy and careful 
with the supply of plates. Even in households 
where "Marie'' is the sole domestic, and has 
to fetch the water from the well, and clatter in her 
wooden shoes from room to room of the large 
chateau, performing her multifarious duties, she is 
never excused nor does she try to evade the law of 
clean plates. If one thing has touched an assiette^ 
another must not be put upon it, so that, with 
the many courses at each meal, the afterwork which 
devolves upon Marie would overwhelm with dis- 
may an ordinary English kitchenmaid. Appended 
are a series of dishes suitable for the different 
seasons of the year. 

What has been said hitherto applies to ordinary 
breakfasts. Wedding breakfasts, dkjeHners h la 

l2o Good Society, 

fourchitte^ are conducted in rather a different manner. 
They are of a more formal character than those we 
have been describing, and have all the form and 
ceremony of a dinner, both as regards waiting 
and table decorations. As to the viands and 
beverages, they are most varied, and are. a curious 
combination of all the four meals. Soup is handed, 
tea and coffee, claret and champagne — everything 
on the table is cold, and all the dishes are very 
much garnished and ornamented. The table itself 
is set as for a dinner, in a formal, precise manner ; 
rolls of bread in the napkins ; the knives and forks 
on either side ; all the arrangements carried out in 
the strictest way. Flowers and fruits are arranged 
either in large groups or scattered about in tiny 
bouquets and clusters, according to the prevailing 
fashion. The chief centre is occupied by the 
bride-cake (when the breakfast is to celebrate a 
wedding), which is always an imposing structure, 
and considered to be the ornament of the feast. 
A collation of this description should consist of 
cold game and poultry, hams, tongues, game pies, 
savoury jellies, potted meats, and fish ; lobster 
salads, creams, jellies, custards, candied fruits, or- 
namental cakes, ices, &c. No trenchers of bread, 
no homely tea-cakes or pats of butter are seen at 
this kind of breakfast. The tout ensemble should 
present as glittering a display as possible. Silver, 
glass, and china should create a universal sparkle 
and glitter. It should be — 

" A table richly spread in regal mode, 
With dishes piled, and meats of noblest sort 
And savour.' 

The hunt breakfast and sportsmen's breakfast 
differ from either of those mentioned before. The 



table is not decorated or ornamented ; all the space 
is reserved for the dishes, which on these occasions 
make the table groan, as people say. The Lan- 
cashire motto should be adopted : " Plenty to look 
at, plenty to eat, and plenty to leave/' No sweets 
are placed on the table, only substantial food, 
which is likely to fit those who partake for the 
labour and toil of the day they are commencing. 
Game pie is a standard dish on these occasions, 
cold beef, devilled turkey, broiled ham, French 
pies, &c. Cherry brandy is at hand for those who 
choose that as their beverage, and tankards of 
beer ; but huntsmen nowadays, as a rule, take tea 
and coffee. 


Broiled trout. 


Codfish cakes. 


Curried eggs. 


Savoury omelette. 

Potted char. 

Pigeon pie. 

Potted beef. 


Stewed kidneys. 

Spiced beef. 

Pommes de terre friles. 



Broiled mackerel. 

Devilled chicken. 

Fried soles. 

Pigeons in jelly. 

Broiled whiting. 

Strawberries and 


Buttered eggs. 

Broiled ham. 


Potted salmon. 


Potted shrimps. 

Beefsteak pie. 



Broiled fresh herrings. 

Fresh shrimps. 

Collared eels. 


Poached eggs. 

Potted hare. 

Grouse pie. 

Potted lobster. 

Cold roast fowl. 

Toasted mushrooms. 


Broiled pheasant. 

Rolled beef. 



Good Society. 

Kippered haddock. 


Anchovy toast. 


Broiled mutton chop. 

Devilled turkey. 

Pommes de terre frites. 


Stewed ox-tails. 

Melton pie. 
Round of beet 



Luncheon — Manners at Table — What to place there, and how 
to place it — Hot Luncheons— Cold Luncheons* 

" When hungry thou stoodst staring like an oaf, 
I sliced the luncheon from the barley loaf." 


Luncheon has been defined as an insult to one's 
breakfast and an outrage to one's dinner. It is 
clearly an interpolation of no very ancient date. 
Three meals a day — breakfast, dinner, and supper 
—were formerly considered as amply sufficient ; 
but now two more have added themselves to the 
list, and shouldered out to a great extent the old- 
fashioned after-dinner tea and supper. Luncheon 
is one of these extra " feeds " which has squeezed 
itself firmly in, and now the half-hour devoted to 
this meal is considered indispensable. We leave 
it to the decision of the medical community 
whether long abstinence or the too frequent sup- 
plying of the inner man is the most deleterious 
to health. Luncheons are fairly established in 
most households. Sometimes they answer the 
purpose of dinner, and then they require to be 
more substantial, but still should only exhibit " an 
elegant sugiciency." 

124 Good Society, 

There should be an absence of all formality 
about an ordinary luncheon. Precedence is not 
observed ; neither do the gentlemen take in the 
ladies. The lady of the house leads the way, 
followed by the others, and the gentlemen come in 
a body after them. It is not customary for guests 
feminine to doff their bonnets or out-of-door gar- 
ments when invited to partake of this meal ; but 
this latitude is not permitted to the lady presiding 
at her own table, who must appear in indoor 
morning dress. 

The arrangement of the table is of a formal- 
informal character, inasmuch as though there is not 
the order and precision observed as at the dinner, 
it yet has a style of its own, and one that does not 
vary. Everything is placed upon the table at the 
beginning, and (unless at a very large party, where 
confusion would be the inevitable result) persons 
help themselves and one another. Gentlemen wait 
upon the ladies. Children, if there be any, are 
looked upon as servitors for the occasion, and 
often prove deft little waiters. At larger parties the 
servant stays in the i:oom to hand the first course, 
the vegetables and salad ; then removes the meats 
from the table, draws the other dishes — sweets, 
cheese, &c. — from the centre, and then leaves the 
room. It is quite allowable to push on one side 
the plate on which you have had tart or jelly 
and take another before you with fruit or cheese. 
An elegant disorder is perfectly distinct from a 
vulgar confusion. 

Luncheon in small families generally consists of 
the cold meat, game, or poultry which remains 
from the dinner of the previous day ; but nothing 
should ever come to table exactly in the same form 

Luncheons, 125 

in which it has appeared before. The appearance 
of the luncheon table depends very much on this 
being duly remembered. To make the "cold 
remains '* look well, they should be temptingly ar- 
ranged and tastefully garnished. A fowl denuded 
of its wings looks most uncomfortable on a table ; 
whereas, how very different is the effect if its legs 
are crossed one upon the other, and the ungainly 
ankles ornamented with parsley ! The ragged and 
untidy object is converted into a seemly dish. 

Again, a dish of veal cutlets presents a much 
more appetising look when they are reared against 
a mound of mashed potatoes, with delicate rolls of 
bacon lying at their feet. A salad is more present- 
able and refreshing when prepared and mixed in a 
bowl than when the huge lettuces are alone on one 
dish, and the cucumber stretches its long length 
on another, and the beetroot and hard-boiled egg 
which should have garnished it are the one under- 
ground and the other in its shell. The tottering 
wall of jelly would look infinitely more comfortable 
had it been broken down and its quivering pieces 
put into glasses; and the fruit from last night's 
dessert, if re-arranged on fresh leaves. All these 
little niceties add wonderfully to the tout ensemble. 
Flowers should grace the whole. At luncheon the 
bread is not placed before each person as at 
dinner, but the trencher with loaf is placed on 
the table as at breakfast— only at luncheon a few 
pieces are always cut beforehand, and the board is 
handed round by the servant. 

If a hot luncheon is required, soup may be 
brought to table, together with fish cakes, hashed 
mutton, minced chicken, veal cutlets, mutton 
chops, roast fowls, or any entree, and light 

126 Good Society, 

puddings, but cold meats and sweets are generally 
preferred. Of these any of the following may be 
selected for the luncheon table : cold lamb, pigeon, 
pork or beefsteak pies, pressed or roasted beef, 
tongue, fowls (boiled or roasted), game, veal 
patties, potted meats, lobsters, salad, fruit tarts, 
light puddings, custard, stewed fruit, jelly, blanc- 
mange, cheesecakes, tartlets, sponge or plum cake, 
cheese, biscuits, butter, and fruits. The beverages 
offered should be sherry, claret, claret cup, and 
light beer. 



" The Dinner Question ** — Less Cost and more Care — The 
Dinner Tables of the Last Ten Centuries — Good Cookery 
— Good Waiters — Invitations : Whom to Invite — Dinner 
en Famille and a la Russe — Carving — Table Appoint- 
ments and Decorations — Arrival of Guests — Going in to 
Dinner — The Dinner — Wines — The Dessert — Retirement 
of the Ladies — Coffee— Tea — Departure. 

• ' Now good digestion wait on appetite, 
And health on both." " Macbeth: 

" Since Eve ate apples, much depends on dinner." 


The dinner question is one which has occupied 
the thoughts and been the serious study of man- 
kind for many generations. It is curious to trace 
the different phases through which the art of dining 
has passed, during the ages in which we have any 
account of this king of meals, from the rude and 
rough manner in which the Anglo-Saxon dined 
down to the superb banquet of the present day. 
We have toiled and reflected — we still ponder the 
question — may it not be in consequence of our 
anxiety to benefit ourselves and mankind in this 
respect that we have, as Darwin says, " made our- 
selves tailless and hairless, and multiplied folds to 
our brain ? " Each generation thinks that it has 

128 Good Society. 

made a step in advance of the previous one. The 
globe has been ransacked from " China to Peru '* 
for delicacies, novelties, and varieties of comestibles 
and beverages. Money can now command meats, 
vegetables, and fruits at any and every season of 
the year, and every wine that can gladden the 
heart of man. But sumptuous viands and rare 
wines alone will not ensure an enjoyable dinner ; 
and indeed their importance is greatly over-esti- 
mated by the majority of dinner-givers. Less cost 
and more taste, together with more care in what 
are erroneously considered to be minor details, is 
what is desirable. Do the guests feel any the 
better, or enjoy their entertainment any the more, 
for eating gold ? Asparagus at a shilling a stalk, 
peaches ten shillings apiece, and strawberries at 
two guineas a basket, serve as things to be boasted 
of by the purchaser ; but we doubt if vegetables 
and fruit preternaturally forced are real luxuries. 
Even the hundred-guinea dish of M. Soyer is a 
thing more to talk about than to enjoy. Good 
company, good waiting, and good cookery are the 
secrets of success ; and there are secrets hidden in 
each one of these essentials, simple as they appear 
to be, which only a host and hostess here and there 
have the penetration to discover. Some stumble 
on the rock of ostentatious display ; others make 
the mistake of inviting too large a number of 
guests — a thing which is perfectly intolerable at a 
dinner party. This host thinks only of the wine he 
can set before his company ; that hostess of the 
distinguished " lions " whom she can secure to sit 
at her table ; and so real comfort is too seldom 
studied. These remarks apply just as much to a 
dinner en famille as to one a la Rnsse, 

Dinners, 129 

Before going into further details, let us in a few 
words review the dinner tables of the last ten cen- 
turies. The account of a dinner in very early 
times must of necessity be a scanty one, m that 
there would in the nature of things be but little to 
describe. When the dinner hour arrived, boards 
were brought into the hall and placed upon tres- 
tles, on whose rough surface a few plates were set, 
by no means equal in number to the diners, each 
of whom cut his food with the knife which he car- 
ried about with him for hunting purposes. When 
the company were seated, the meats were brought 
from the kitchen on the spit (so we will conclude 
they did not know of gravies) ; and such were the 
lawless manners of the time that the joints had to 
be guarded in their transit from the kitchen to the 
hall by ushers, who with their rpds beat oiT the 
"letchers" when they attempted to seize the 
dinner from the cooks. 

The appointments of the Normans were more 
numerous and various. As to the quality of the 
food, that depends upon taste. When dinner 
was announced, the guests advanced into the 
hall, led ceremoniously by two matires iPhdtel, 
who showed them their places and served them 
with water to wash their hands. The tables were 
spread with cloths, and there were goblets and 
cups, saltcellars and spoons. The dishes were 
brought in by valets, led by two esquires. A "placer" 
took them from the valets and arranged them on 
the table. The meats were eaten from large slices 
of bread, which were then thrown into a vessel. 
After this course the table-cloths were changed 
and the sweets came in. Lastly, the dessert ap- 
peared, which consisted of cheese and fruits, and the 

130 Good Society. 

repast was terminated by a draught of hippocras. 
Although the ceremony observed in the serving of 
the viands was so extreme, I doubt whether the 
culinary department would have met with our ap- 
probation. Garlic was the favourite seasoning, 
and flavoured indiscriminately "fish, flesh, and 
fowl" We select one bill of fare for the reader's 
consideration — 

" First course : Boar's head enarmed, and bruce 
for pottage ; beef, mutton, pestles of pork, swan, 
roasted rabbit, tart. 

" Second course : Drope and rose for pottage ; 
mallard, pheasant, chickens farsed and roasted, 
malachis baked. 

"Third course: Conigs in gravy and hare in 
bras^, teals roasted, woodcocks, snipes, raffyolys 
baked, flampoyntes." 

And to describe one or two of these dishes : 
" Bruce '* consisted of portions of pig mixed with 
vegetables and spices. " Drope,*' of almonds and 
onions fried in "fresh grease." " Flampoyntes" were 
made of pork, cheese, sugar, and pepper, fried in 
the same tempting liquid. A Raffyoly was a 
sort of patty. Pork in some form or other was 
a very favourite dish. Now we dream as little 
of placing it on our tables (except they are very 
homely ones) as do the Jews. Charles Lamb's 
rhapsody on roast pig stirs few hearts now-a-days. 
As we read on, we find that luxuries increase and 
banquets become more costly. Indeed, one is 
recorded the menu of which, though arranged for a 
great state occasion (the installation of an arch- 
bishop), is on such a gigantic scale that it would, I 
think, make even the great Gunter look aghast 
Space forbids us giving more than a few of the 

Dinners. 131 

items. 400 swans, 2,000 pigs, 4,000 pigeons, 500 
stags, 104 peacocks, 4,000 cold venison pasties, 
1,500 hot ditto, 8 seals, 4 porpoises, 1,000 dishes 
of jelly, &c. &c. &c. 

The confectionery of this period was very deli- 
cate and elaborate. After each course came a sub- 
tility— that is, representations in raised pastry of 
castles, giants, saints, ladies, and animals, upon 
which legends and coat armour were painted in 
their proper colours. 

The habit of profuse and luxurious living seems to 
have declined during the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries. In Henry VII.'s day the tables, as a rule, 
were served in great confusion ; no nicety or order 
was observed. The art of cookery degenerated, 
and the manners were so rough, that often when an 
attractive dish made its appearance the guests dis- 
played their greediness by scrambling for its con- 
tents. It was common, too, for gentlemen to wear 
their hats at this meal. Pepys remarks — "Home 
to bed, having got a strange cold by flinging off my 
hat for dinner.'* Desserts were discontinued, so 
that altogether the meals of this period were the 
reverse of comfortable. 

Once more the art of dining became a subject 
of study, as the chronicles of the eighteenth century 
testify. One after another, luxuries of various 
kinds were introduced. Forks became general ; 
and crowding after, that excellent invention, a host 
of etceteras, without which at the present day a 
dinner table is not considered complete ; so that 
in this nineteenth century almost as much consider- 
ation and thought is required to lay a table for a 
dinner as to place and arrange an army on a field 
of battle. 
I 2 

132 Good Society, 

Having now arrived at our own times, let us stay 
there until the end of the chapter. Good cookery, 
good company, and good waiting have been laid 
down as the three essentials for a comfortable dinner. 
With reference to the first, a good household book — 
which this does not pretend to be — will be the best 
guide, together with the help afforded by the list of 
menus given at the end of this section ; but there 
are one or two points to be noticed which are 
strictly within our province. The first is the error 
which many fall into of thinking too much about 
the principal dishes, and paying too little attention 
to their accompaniments. The French say — " A 
delicious sauce will cause you to eat an elephant." 
They are fully aware of the value of these little de- 
tails, which we English are too apt to count of small 
importance. Sauces and gravies hold a high posi- 
tion. Then, again, the soup is so often a failure 
at our dinners ; and yet, being the first thing par- 
taken of, one would think it desirable to give the 
guest a good impression to start with. Cest la 
soupe qui fait le soldat is a favourite proverb of our 
neighbours, who also excel in this branch of the 
culinary art. 

The second point is, not to have too many dishes 
attached to each course. Ample choice, so as to 
allow for the differences of taste, is necessary, but 
there should be a limit. One man cannot partake 
of fifty different dishes at the same meal. The 
perpetual repetition of ** No, thank you," to the 
continuous stream of dishes handed to you be- 
comes wearisome, besides which it often happens 
that in attempting too great a variety we run the 
risk of many failures. A " little dinner," at which 
each dish of its kind is perfect, is a far greater 

£>INNERS. 133 

success than a "large one" indifferently cooked 
and served. 

And now a word about the attendants, upon 
whom depends so much. 

Dexterity, rapidity, and, above everything else, 
quietness^ added to a thorough knowledge of his 
duties, form the essential requisites of a good 
waiter. In this department, as in others, practice 
alone makes perfect. How, then, is it possible for 
a man who has been employed in quite a different 
capacity to acquit himself well in this position ? 
And yet this is frequently attempted ; but it is really 
always a mistake to do so. It is considered the 
" correct thing " to have only men to serve, and so 
some people, when they have more persons to dinner 
than their one indoor man-servant can wait upon, 
press their out-of-door men into the service; but 
hands that have been accustomed to handle the 
spade and besom, to grooming horses, and what not, 
have not the delicacy of touch necessary for the 
handling of glass and silver. The more anxious the 
novice is, the more awkward and noisy will he be. 

This love of show to the entire exclusion of com- 
fort is satirised by a writer of the last century — one 
of that band of Essayists who did their utmost to 
unmask the folly of those around them. It is sup- 
posed to be the lament of a hiisband whose wife 
loved ostentation, and strove to appear the mistress 
of a grander establishment than she in reality pos- 
sessed. A lady of title had sent word to say that 
she intended coming to see them on a certain day, 
and the host thus describes what ensued. *' It 
would," he says, " tire you to enumerate the various 
shifts that were made, by purchasing, borrow- 
ing, &c., to furnish out a dinner suitable for the 

134 Good Society, 

occasion ; nor was there less ado in making ourselves 
and our attendants fit to appear before such com- 
pany. My gardener, who had been accustomed to 
serve in many capacities, had his head cropped, 
curled, and powdered for the part of butler; one 
of the best-looking ploughboys had a yellow cape 
clapped to his Sunday coat, to make him pass for 
a servant in livery. During the progress of the 
entertainment there were several embarrassments, 
which might appear ridiculous in description, 
but were matters of serious distress to us. Soup 
was spilled, dishes were overturned, and glasses 
broken by the awkwardness of our attendants, and 
things were not a bit mended by my wife's soli- 
citude to correct them." Does not our own private 
and uncomfortable experience vouch for the truth 
of this description ? Have we ourselves not felt on 
one occasion a dish of oysters a la creme gliding 
down the back of our best dress suit, and on 
another had our risible faculties excited and our 
good manners put to the test at the same time by 
seeing a young waiter lying prone on the floor, sur- 
rounded on all sides by rolls of bread ? And have 
not you, my readers, had your elbows knocked, 
your heads bumped, by clumsy louts ? Have not 
your ears been annoyed by the noisy clatter of 
plates, the jingle of glasses, and that most un- 
pleasant sound, the rattling of knives and forks ? 

Therefore, we gather that no greater mistake can 
be made than to make up the quantum of waiters 
from men who are not accustomed to the work. If 
the party be a small one, do not disdain the help of 
a " neat-handed Phyllis,'* or else carefully limit the 
number of your guests in proportion to that of your 
in-door men-servants. One man by himself cannot 

iDlNNERS, 135 

Wait well on more than six people. If the dinner is 
a state affair, then, of course, a waitress would look 
out of place in the room ; but in the country, friends 
often oblige each other by the loan of their servants 
at these times, and in a town it is easy to hire men 
who are proficients in this line. 

The invitations are issued in the name of the 
gentleman and lady, a fortnight or three weeks 
beforehand. They should be answered imme- 
diately, and, if accepted, the engagement should 
on no account be broken. This is a very strict 
rule with regard to dinner parties, as it will easily 
be seen that the non-arrival of an expected guest 
would cause confusion and disarrangement of 

The hour is generally from seven-thirty o'clock 
to eight-thirty— rather a change from the olden 
dinner hours, which were nine or ten in the morn- 
ing. There is an old saying which thus defines the 
division of the domestic day — 

•' Lever k cinq, diner k neuf ; 
Souper k cinq — coucher k neuf; " 

which shows that we have got very far in advance 
of or behind our progenitors. 

Whom to invite is a consideration which requires 
the exercise of judgment and discretion. Dinners 
are generally looked upon as entertainments for 
married people, but it is advisable to have a few 
young men and maidens also. Then the people 
whom you invite should be of the same standing in 
society. They need not necessarily be friends, or 
all of the same absolute rank ; but as at a dinner 
people come into closer contact one with the other 
than at a dance or any other kind of party, those 

136 Good Society. 

only should be invited to meet one another who 
move in the same class of circles. 

The talking powers of your friends have also to 
be considered. All the quiet people must not 
be asked together on one occasion, and all the 
talkative, noisy people on another. They must 
be cleverly mingled together, so that they will 
smoothly amalgamate both as a whole, and also 
one with another when placed side by side round 
the festive board. Real talkers have been desig- 
nated as those '* who have fresh ideas, and plenty 
of warm words to clothe them in." These invalu- 
able people are unfortunately but rarely to be met 
with, but we can always find one at least among 
our acquaintance who has that happy effrontery of 
speaking incessantly, even if it be sometimes 
ridiculously, without overpowering every one else, 
and who has a hearty, cheery laugh. One such 
person at any rate should be secured, for there are 
numbers of timid people who talk fluently enough 
if they do not hear too loudly the sound of their 
own voices, and thus the chatter of one talkative 
friend will serve as a cover, and will induce much 

The invitations having been issued, we must turn 
to the arrangements of the dinner table. Dinners 
h la Russe have been in great favour during the last 
few years, particularly with the gentlemen, and no 
wonder, for then they are relieved from the re- 
sponsible task of carving. When a dinner is served 
in this style all the meats, poultry, and game are 
placed on the sideboard and carved by the butler ; 
but this plan cannot be attempted unless there 
happen to be a large staff of servants. Carving is 
not so much practised as it might be. " However 

Dinners. 137 

trifling some things may seem, they are no longer 
so when about half the world thinks them other- 
wise. Carving, as it occurs at least once in every 
day, is not below our notice. We should use our- 
selves to carve adroitly and genteelly." So says 
Lord Chesterfield ; but how seldom do we meet 
with "a good carver " ! Once upon a time there were 
schools where this art was taught. Wooden models 
of various birds, joints, &c., carved out into pieces 
as the original ought to be, and fastened together 
by threads or glue, were placed before the pupils, 
whose business it was to separate them by blunt in- 
struments. At one time this duty of carving was 
apportioned to the lady of the house, while the host 
dispensed the wine. Lady Wortley Montagu used 
to dine by herself an hour or two beforehand, in 
order that she might perform this office at her 
father's table, and she only followed the general 
custom of that day. 

Well, whichever way the dinner is served, the ap- 
pointments of the table are the same. A white cloth 
of the finest linen damask is spread very exactly on 
the table. Down each side and along each end 
may be long and short slips, which are drawn of! 
at the conclusion of dinner and before the dessert. 
Before each seat is placed a napkin, folded in some 
intricate form, and a roll of bread lies within. 
A knife, fork, and spoon are ready for immediate 
use, and on the right hand of each person are 
set a sherry, claret, and champagne glass. No 
tumblers are seen on the table at modern dinner 
parties. There should be a small saltcellar within 
easy reach of every guest ; also a water carafe and 
glass. The old-fashioned epergne, which used to 
grace the centre of the table, . has retired into 

138 Good Society. 

obscurity, and into its place have stepped plants 
in ornamental pots, and vases of all shapes and 
sizes filled with cut flowers. Every fashion has 
its day. One favourite is perhaps of some- 
what fantastic form, but is very graceful and 
pretty withal. A plateau of plate-glass occupies 
the centre of the table. On its surface here 
and there are small china water-fowl or water 
reptiles holding or supporting bouquets of flowers. 
The edges of this miniature lake are closely 
bordered with bright-coloured flowers or green 
ferns, which are placed in long glass troughs. 
This design is very effective on a large table, but 
the plateau would look rather too much on a small 
one. A less pretentious idea is that of a long oval 
board, covered with crimson velvet or plush, on 
which are grouped, according to fancy, clusters of 
small glass or china vases with flowers. The 
effect of this is heightened if silver candlesticks 
are placed here and there on the board. All 
the table decorations now in vogue are low in form, 
so that the company are not hidden from one 
another, and yet can have their eyes refreshed by 
the sight of beautiful flowers ; and the flowers again 
are not concentrated into large groups, but are 
scattered up and down the table, at the same time 
all forming part of a preconcerted plan of decora- 
tioa Flowers placed on a dinner table should 
be all of a choice kind. Ferns and moss are great 
helps in the arrangement of them. The dessert 
dishes take their places amidst the flowers, and 
should be tastefully arranged and decorated. The 
fruits make as tempting a display as possible. 
Grapes in their own green leaves, strawberries 
and cherries piled high on their respective dishes, 

Dinners, 139 

peaches, apricots, and plums ensconced each in a 
separate leaf, so that they may not be robbed of 
their delicate bloom by too close contact with their 
fellows — pines and melons taking their stand as 
the chief personages. Mingled with all these fruits, 
sprays of ferns and the ice-plant give a cool and 
refreshing appearance to the dish. Crystallised 
fruits sparkle and glitter ; the more sober walnut 
and filbert, disdaining decoration of any kind, as 
unbecoming to their respective characters, com- 
plete the general list of after-dinner delicacies. All 
these dishes, and as many more as you please, 
are placed on the table at the commencement, 
and if the dinner is served a la Russe remain the 
sole occupants ; if otherwise, the other dishes are 
placed and replaced according to the courses. 

No wine is put upon the dinner table. 

The dinner table is ready. Let us hope that the 
host and hostess, and more particularly the latter, 
are ready too, and in their drawing-room before 
the hour named for the arrivals, and that the 
rooms are properly arranged and lighted, so that 
there need be no sign of hurry or confusion at 
the sound of the first bell. The. lady should place 
herself in a position so as to be easily accessible 
to all comers, as each guest ought to pay his or 
her respects to her first. Punctuality should be 
strictly observed. In the country half an hour's 
latitude is allowed, and in town a quarter of an 
hour's grace is given ; and surely everybody, if 
they tried, could calculate their time so that they 
should arrive neither too early nor too late, but hit 
the happy medium ; then all the discomfort and 
awkwardness caused by waiting after the appointed 
hour for some late-coming guest entailed upon host, 

140 Good Socimtv. 

hostess, and all the assembled company, together 
with the especial agony suffered by the cook, would 
be happily and easily avoided. 

This dread of non-punctuality on the part of 
some one constantly destroys the peace of mind of 
the mistress of the house as tlie hour approaches ; 
and indeed a dinner party throughout is a trying 
ordeal to a young and unseasoned hostess. 

She should, to act her part well, be familiar with 
every little drawing-room ceremonial — ^all the laws 
of precedence and the whole etiquette of hospitality. 
Whatever unfortunate contretemps or catastrophe 
may happen, her equanimity must not be in the 
slightest degree disturbed. She must be " mistress 
of herself though china falV and she must endea- 
vour to keep the ball of conversation ever on the 

The host communicates to each gentleman the 
name of the lady he is to take in to dinner. If 
they are strangers to each other, the host intro- 
duces his friend to the lady. When the " guests 
are met and the feast is set," the butler announces 
the latter to his master, who then offers his arm 
to the lady appointed to be escorted by him. 
This should be either the oldest lady, the lady of 
the highest rank, or the greatest stranger; or if 
there be a bride present, the lot falls upon her. 
The other guests follow arm-in-arm, and the hostess 
closes the procession, escorted by the gentleman 
who has been appointed to the honourable post, 
and who has been elected for one of the three 
reasons above-mentioned, as being the oldest or of 
highest rank, &c. On arriving at the dining-room, 
the host's seat is at the bottom of the table, and 
his wife's at the top, unless the fashion be adopted 

Dinners, 141 

of occupying places opposite one another in the 
middle of each side, which is sometimes the case 
when the table is a long one. The host places his 
lady on his right hand, and she is considered the 
starting-:point for the waiters, who should always 
offer each, dish first to her. The gentleman who 
has accompanied the hostess is seated on her 
right hand, and should offer to carve for her should 
the dishes be placed on the table for that purpose. 
In order to facilitate the arrangement of the rest 
of the company, a card is laid on the table before 
each seat, on which is written the name of the 
guest by whom it is to be appropriated. For this 
purpose many pretty and fantastic devices have 
been designed. Sometimes a plan of the table 
is laid in the drawing-room, so that the gentleman 
having studied it* may be able at once to lead the 
lady he escorts to her seat, and thus confusion 
is avoided. The servant places a plate of soup 
before each person in order, and it is etiquette to 
begin immediately that it is set before you (the 
ladies having, however, first withdrawn their 
gloves), as well as to take it quickly. Of course 
all food should be silently masticated. No sound 
is more disagreeable than that of a company ** feed- 
ing like horses, when you hear them feed.'* 

At a large party no one ever thinks of partaking 
of the same viand twice. At a dinner en famille, 
where " you see your dinner before you," it is per- 
missible, but never then with respect to soup and 
fish. Beau Brummel, speaking contemptuously of 
some one, said — " He is a fellow, now, that would 
send up his plate twice for soup." 

At a formal dinner guests are not asked their 
choic^. This is quite unnecessary, for they hav^ 

142 Good Society, 

their menu^ and so can accept or reject the different 
dishes that are handed to them. The entrees and 
the jellies, creams, &c., are handed on electro- 
silver dishes, and guests help themselves. Of the 
other meats, small pieces are placed on plates and 
offered by the servants. 

It will be seen by the menus appended what the 
different courses are, and in what order they come. 
We will now speak of the wines. 

Is it naedful to say that they, like everything 
else, should be good ? Bad cookery is deleterious, 
but bad wines are positively poisonous ; so if the 
host's purse will not allow him to give his guests 
good champagne or hock, or any of the more ex- 
pensive wines, let him offer only good sherry and 
claret. The difficulty of procuring good wines is 
certainly very great. Money even will not always 
secure them, although it may naturally be expected 
to do so. The only sure way of obtaining wine at 
once good and genuine is to go to a merchant of 
undoubted respectability. 

The qualities of good wine are thus quaintly de- 
scribed by Neckam, a writer of the twelfth century : 
— " Clear as the tears of a penitent, so that a man 
may see distinctly to the bottom of his glass ; its 
colour should represent the greenness of a buffalo's 
horn. When drunk it should descend impetuously 
like thunder, sweet-tasted as an almond, creeping 
like a squirrel, leaping like a roebuck, strong like 
the building of a Cistercian monastery, glittering 
like a spark of fire, subtle as the logic of the 
schools of Paris, delicate as fine silk, and colder 
than crystal." 

No wine is placed on the dinner table, and 
it is the province of the butler to hand the proper 

Dinners. 143 

kind at the proper time. Sherry is offered with 
soup. With the fish light wines, such as hock, 
chabHs, and sauterne. Champagne accompanies 
the joint Port wine never makes its appear- 
ance now Until dessert, when it divides the 
honours with sherry, madeira, and claret. Fifty 
years ago the practice of taking wine with one 
another was in full force. This was a very old 
custom. It was prevalent amongst the Greeks 
and the Anglo-Saxons, and the latter always ac- 
companied the ceremony with a kiss. A writer 
of Henry VIII. 's day, in laying down the rules 
of etiquette, suggests as one of them that when 
any one will drink to the health of another 
he must fix his eye upon him for a moment and 
give him time, if it be possible, to swallow his 

The oft-repeated phrase, ** May I take wine 
with you ? " is no longer heard at modern dinners. 
The formality became a troublesome one, and has 
gradually fallen into disuse, except at those con- 
vivial meetings at colleges, known by the name 
of " Wines," where youths still pledge one another 
in the "cup of refreshment," and have yet a 
peculiar little ceremony — from whom derived de- 
ponent sayeth not — that of three linking their 
arms one within the other, and, thus enchained, 
they imbibe and pass good wishes round this small 
circle one to the other. 

One other old custom has, we are glad to say, 
been almost chased away, and that is the habit 
of pressing hospitality. There was a day when 
it was the mark of good-breeding " to cram a 
poor surfeited guest to the throat, and the most 
social hours were thrown away in a continusil 

144 Good Society, 

interchange of solicitations and apologies." We 
say " almost." Would that it were quite extinct ; 
but here and there uncomfortable hosts and 
hostesses are encountered who, out of kindness, 
we know — but it is nwst mistaken — ^repeatedly 
invite and urge their guests to partake of this and 
that after they have politely declined. To say the 
least, this conduct is in extremely bad taste. True 
hospitality lies in offering freely what you have, 
leaving the guest at liberty to take or pass by 
what he pleases ; not in leading him to take what 
you may please against his own inclination, simply 
to oblige you, and so to escape further importunity. 
This liberty extends to those who, as a matter of 
taste or principle, choose to abstain altogether from 
wine, for whom seltzer or other agreeable mineral 
waters should be provided. 

At the conclusion of dinner, the table is cleared 
of everything but the dessert dishes and flower 
decorations. The crumbs are taken off on to a 
plate by means of a silver or wooden knife, and 
the slips, if used, are then withdrawn. A dessert- 
plate, on which is a d'oyley, finger-glass, and silver 
knife and fork, is placed before each guest, together 
with three wine-glasses. On very state occasions 
the finger-glasses (which, when used, should be 
small, and not contain much water) are not put on 
the table, but in lieu a golden or majolica bowl 
filled with rose-water and napkin attached is passed 
round on the table, or offered by a servant. The 
dessert dishes are brought more forward from the 
centre of the table, and embossed spoons placed 
beside the dishes. The wine is put on the table 
before the host, and then handed once round by 
the butler. T}ie servants hand the principal dishes 

Dinners, 145 

one after another to each guest, and then leave the 
room. The hostess very soon rises, looking at the 
same time at the lady on her husband's right hand, 
who with the rest of the ladies rises from her seat. 
The gentlemen do the same. The host, or some 
gentleman more conveniently near it, opens the 
door, and the ladies troop out and settle them- 
selves in the drawing-room. The servant brings 
cups of coffee and hands them round, and takes 
some to the gentlemen in the dining-room. The 
ladies are not left very long to themselves, as it is 
not now the practice for gentlemen to drink much 
wine after dinner. They ought, therefore, soon to 
adjourn to the drawing-room. The servants then 
re-appear, one carrying a tray on which are cups 
of tea, the other a salver on which rest the sugar 
basin and cream jug. These are handed round. 
Sometimes music is introduced. The half-hour or 
so after dinner quickly flies. At half-past ten or 
eleven the guests begin to depart. On the arrival 
of each carriage, a servant announces it quietly to 
the owner. 

As the foregoing remarks have treated some- 
what exclusively of so-called " stylish " dinners, it 
may be as well to make some remarks on the 
manner in which those given with less ostentation 
should be conducted. Although there is not quite 
so much state and ceremony observed in a dinner 
enfamilie^ yet there is by no means the same free- 
dom and latitude allowed as at luncheons and other 
meals. The table is set with care and precision ; 
the different courses are placed on it and removed 
in proper order ; but no dish should be taken off 
the table until all the plates have been previously 
removed; neither should one be placed on the 

146 Good Society, 

table while any belonging to the former course 
remains. The dishes containing vegetables and 
sauces should be kept on the sideboard, and are 
always handed. The host may offer to serve his 
guests a second time from the joint or poultry, 
but not with soup or fish. Gentlemen carve and 
assist their neighbours, and should notice anything 
that is wanting, passing salt, mustard, or pepper, if 
within their reach, or asking the servant to bring 
it ; but never attempt to leave their seats to go in 
search of what they need, though custom allows 
them to do so at breakfast and luncheon. 

Spring (April, May, June) —for Six. 

Spring Soup. 



Stewed Pigeons, with Cherries. 
Beef k la mode. 


Quarter of Lamb. 

Spring Chickens, with Tongue. 


Salmi of Larks. 


Fruit Jelly. Souffle. Gateau Napolilain. 

Cheese Straws. 
Cheese. Biscuits. Butter. 

Brown Bread Cream. Lemon Water. 

Dinners, 147 

Spring— for Twelve. 



Salmon. Plain Whitebait and Devilled Whitebait. 


Beef Olives. Quenelles of Rabbit. 

Lobster Cutlets. Reform Cutlets. 


Quarter of Lamb. Capon, with Ham. 

Green Peas. 

Quails. Plovers. 


Iced Souffle. 
Fruit Jelly. Pine-apple Cream. 

Gooseberry Tart. 
Ramakins. Russian Salad. 

Vanilla Cream. Orange Water. 

Strawberries. Cherries. Melons. 

J 2 

148 Good Society, 

Summer (July, August, September) — for Six. 


Red Mullet. 

Lobster Cutlets. Ragout of Sweetbreads. 


Haunch of Lamb. 
York Ham and Green Peas. 


Quail or Larks. 

Grouse (August). 

Partridges (September) 


Iced Souffle. 
Strawberry Cream. Lemon Sponge. 

Plovers' Eggs. 
Gorgonzola Cheese. Butter. 

Pine-apple Cream. Cherry Water. 

Pine-apples. Strawberries. Cherries. Apricots. Melons. 

Dinners, 149 

SVMMER— for Twelve. 



Salmon. Smelts. 


Curried Eggs. Sweetbreads and Mushrooms. 
Vol au Vent 4 la financiere. 

Iced Asparagus. 


Quails. Larks (July). 

Grouse. Black Cock (August). 

Partridges. Black Cock (Sept.). 


Ice Pudding. 
Strawberry Jelly. Chartreuse of Apricots. 

Confiture of Nectarines. Iced Meringues. 

Cheese Straws. 
Cheese. Butter. 

Neapolitan Cream. Raspberry Water. 

Pine-apples. Strawberries. Cherries. Apricots. Melons- 

150 Good Society. 

Autumn (Oct., Nov., Dec.)— for Six. 


John Dory. 

Curried Ox-palates. Larded Sweetbreads. 


Saddle Mutton. Guinea Fowl. 




Cabinet Pudding. 

Noyau Jelly. Charlotte Russe. 

Cheese. Butter. 

Vanille Cream. Lemon Water. 

Pine- apple. Pears. Grapes. Medlars. Filberts. 

Dinners, 15! 

Autumn — for Twelve. 


Clear Turtle. 

Cod. Sparling. 


Mutton Cutlets, with Tomato Sauce. 

Oyster Patties. Sweetbreads. 

Beef Olives. 

Haunch of Mutton. Turkey Poult. 

Pheasants. Snipe. 


Bakewell Pudding. 
Wine Jelly. Italian Cream. 

Gateau de Pommes. Chocolate Cream. 

Fondu of Cheese. Savoury Eggs. 

Vanilla Cream. Currant Wine. 

Pine-apple. Pears. Grapes. Medlars. Filberts. 

t52 Good Societv. 

Winter (Jan., Feb., March)— for Six. 


Crimped Cod. 

Fricandeau of Veal. 


Saddle Mutton. Pullet. 

Sea Kale. 

Wild Duck. 


Apple Souffle. 

Ratafia Cream. Lemon Sponge. 

Roquefort Cheese. Butter. 

Coffee Creim. Raspberry Water. 

Apples. Pears. Medlars. Grapes. Walnuts. 


WiNi F.R— for Tuelve. 


Fricandean of Beef. Slewed Pigeons. 

Quenelles of Lobsler. 

Refonn Cutlets. 


Haunch Venison. 


New Polaloes- 




Guinea Fowl. 

Plum Pudding. 

Vanilla Cream. Meringues. 

Maraschino Jell)'. Confiture of Fruit. 


Stilton. Butler. 




High Teas — What to put on the Table, and how to place it 
Arrangement of Drawing-room — Five o*clock Teas. 

" while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn 

Throws up a steaming column, and the cups 
Which cheer but not inebriate wait on each." 


" Tea " is supposed to be essentially the ladies' 
meal; but there are countless numbers of the 
opposite sex who, while they swallow " just an odd 
cup because it is made," experience as much enjoy- 
ment as those for whose delectation it was said to 
have been brewed. There are two classes of teas 
—'' great teas " and " little teas " : the " high " or 
" meat " teas, which come under the first denomina- 
tion, and " handed tea," or " afternoon tea," which 
place themselves under the latter. The first of 
these is quite a country institution, and scarcely 
known to the dwellers in towns. Now a tea, of 
whatever kind, may be made one of the most 
agreeable of meals ; for tea always seems to produce 
sociability, cheerfulness, and vivacity. There is an 
air of comfort and home which hovers over the tea 
table, one which the more forn^al dinner table can 

Teas, 155 

never present. What more welcome and cheering 
sight can meet our eye on the return from a long 
journey or distant excursion, or from a hardly- 
contested battle on the lawn-tennis ground, than 
the hissing, steaming urn, the array of cups and 
saucers, the sociable, genial air which the tea 
table invariably presents ? Let us first speak of 
" high teas," which, as we have remarked, are most 
in fashion in the country, and for this reason : late 
dinners interfere with the social, informal life that 
country people are wont to lead, and those who 
are on hospitable thoughts intent have not the 
same opportunities afforded them of carrying out 
their wishes. For instance, it would be impossible 
in many households to invite twenty people to 
dinner at a few days' notice ; or if several friends 
happened to call, bringing their visitors with them, 
they could not be asked to stay if the evening meal 
were a dinner ; but, in either case, it is quite feasible 
when tea is in question. Very pleasant gatherings 
may take place in this way, either in summer as a 
termination to archery or lawn-tennis, or in winter as 
a prelude to music, round games at cards, or charades. 
A white cloth is always laid on the table for 
" high tea," and on it down the centre are placed 
flowers, and in summer, fruits. Nothing looks 
more tempting than bowls of old china filled with 
ripe red strawberries, and jugs of rich cream by 
their side. Glass dishes containing preserved 
fruits of different colours, such as apricots, straw- 
berries, marmalade, &c., take their stands at short 
intervals. Cakes of various kinds — plum, rice, 
and sponge ; and then within easy reach of the 
"tea-drinkers" are hot muffins, crumpets, toast, 
tea-cakes, and what not. At one end of the table 

156 Good Society, 

the tea-tray stands, with its adjuncts ; at the other 
the coffee is placed, also on a tray. The sideboard 
is the receptacle of the weightier matters, such as 
cold salmon, pigeon and veal and ham pies, boiled 
and roast fowls, tongues, ham, veal cake ; and 
should it be a very " hungry tea," roast beef and 
lamb may be there for the gentlemen of the party. 

The servants should be expert and handy, as 
there is a good deal of waiting to be done. One 
should hand the cups of tea on a waiter, together 
with sugar and cream; another should do the 
same with coffee, and both should take notice of 
the empty cups, and take them to be re-filled. 
Then there should be one to carve and help at the 
sideboard, and another to change the plates, hand 
bread-and-butter, &c. Very often the gentlemen 
wait to a great extent upon the ladies and them- 
selves on these occasions. After the fruit has been 
handed, the servants leave the room. It is usual 
for the party to remain a short time at the table 
after the conclusion of the meal. 

Sometimes a dance on the lawn, or on the 
drawing-room carpet, music, talk, or charades end 
an entertainment of this kind ; but if dancing is 
not introduced, the success of a tea depends much 
upon the arrangement of the reception rooms. 

The furniture should be so arranged that the 
rooms may look full, and yet progress be not im- 
peded. Tables and chairs should be so placed 
that the guests naturally form themselves into little 
groups, and can with ease pass from one knot to 
another. A room stiffly arranged will destroy all 
the wish for conversation and mirth, and also the 
power of producing it as well. And, again, an im- 
mediate depression follows the fatal moment when, 

Teas, 157 

either through forgetfulness or ignorance, the guests 
form themselves into an unbroken circle round the 
room. Few people have the sang froid to talk, 
much less talk freely and well, when every one 
can hear their remarks ; and yet few are too bashful 
to converse in a small group. It really requires 
that the hostess should keep her eye upon her 
company in order to prevent this catastrophe, and 
to disperse them in time, for once this circle formed, 
it is almost an impossibility to break it up. A 
gloom pervades, hilarity ceases, only an occasional 
remark is ventured upon, and the party is con- 
verted into a Quaker's meeting, simply from this 
one circumstance. 

" Little teas " take place in the afternoon. Now 
that dinners are so late, and that "teas proper" 
are postponed in consequence to such an unnatural 
hour as ten p.m., the want is felt of the old-fashioned 
meal at five, and so it has been reinstated, though 
not in quite the same form as before. The modern 
afternoon tea takes place about five, and the in- 
vitation is by card, intimating that Mrs. will 

be " At home " on such an afternoon. No answer 
is necessary. When the day arrives, if you are dis- 
engaged, and so disposed, you call upon your friend, 
are ushered into her drawing-room, and there you 
find her and others who have come on the same 
errand as yourself. The tea equipage is placed 
on a table near to the lady of the house, who her- 
self dispenses the tea. Usually this equipage is 
one specially designed for these occasions. The 
cups and saucers are smaller than those in use at 
other meals, and are of a more dainty and refined 
character. The other accompaniments also are 
on a smaller scale — the spoons, sugar basin and 

158 Good Society, 

tongs, cream jug, are distinctively small. No plates 
are brought into the room except those which hold 
cake or rolled bread and butter. Gentlemen, of 
course, will tender their services ; but they should 
not be too officious or over-anxious to do their duty. 
There are men who will perpetually be handing 
cake, and offering to do this, that, and the other 
about the tea-tray. People do not assemble at 
these five o'clock teas to eat and drink, but merelv 
to see and talk to each other, and take a cup of 
tea the while as a refreshment. Small tables should 
be placed here and there, so that people can group 
round them and use them. 

If these afternoon receptions are on a large scale, 
it is necessary for servants to hand the tea, or for 
the tea to be poured out by a servant in another 
room, to which each guest is asked to go by the 
lady of the house some time during the hour they 
remain in the house; but as "little teas" are 
thoroughly social gatherings, servants should be 
excluded if possible. Several new features have 
lately been introduced into this phase of social life 
when guests go by invitation. Enthusiasts of whist 
collect their forces and enjoy a good rubber between 
afternoon tea and dinner. A dance on the carpet 
finds favour with the young people. Sometimes the 
hostess entertains her friends by engaging a pro- 
fessional musician or a reciter to exhibit their talents. 
We do not know whether country people are so far 
demoralised as to introduce these entertainments, 
but it is, at any rate, a London fashion. You take 
your departure whenever you feel inclined, but 
should on no account stay later than seven o'clock. 



Suppersgive place to Dinners — Roman Bill of Fare — Appoint- 
ments of the Table — French Display — Our Supper Tables 
—Impromptu Suppers — Ball Suppers. 

" Is supper ready, the house trimmed, 
Rushes strewed, cobwebs swept ? " 


" Soft he set 

A table, and threw thereon 

A cloth of woven crimson, gold, and jet. 

Forth from the closet brought a heap 
Of candied apples, quince, and plum, and gourd, 
With jellies smoother than the creamy curd. 
And lucent syrups tinct with cinnamon. 
Manna and dates, and spiced dainties every one 
From silken Samarcand to cedared Lebanon." 


This meal, which used to be in all countries one 
of the most important, has now given way to its 
great rival, dinner, and has itself sunk into com- 
parative insignificance. Supper in the olden times 
was the second meal in the day, at which the whole 
household met together. It was served in the hall, 
with much the same form and service as dinner ; 
the table was plentifully covered with good things, 
and the company began and ended their repast by 
washing their hands, a parting cup was then handed 
round, and the adjournment from the supper table 

i6o Good Society, 

was to bed. Thus the good people appear to have 
ignored their own adage, "After supper run a mile." 
If any distinguished personages were to be enter- 
tained, either at Court or elsewhere, the invitation 
was always to supper. 

The medical fraternity give this meal a very bad 
name, and shake their heads at hot suppers par- 
ticularly; but there are times and seasons when 
this meal must be included in the day's list — for 
instance, it is more convenient for some households 
to dine in the middle of the day, then the evening 
meal becomes a supper ; or when a business man 
returns home late from the City, he looks forward 
to his cosy, well-earned supper. At an evening 
party or ball the supper also forms a very important 
element. The Romans supped at Ihree p.m., and, 
amongst other equally to us uninviting viands, 
used then to eat ass, dog, and snails. The fol- 
lowing bill of fare is not a very tempting one to 
modern palates, although an immense improvement 
on dog and donkey:— "Sea hedgehogs, oysters, 
asparagus, succeeded by venison, wild boar, and 
sea nettles, concluded by fowl, game, and cakes.'' 
I think we may fairly claim that our suppers — 
little or big — are more civilised and dainty than 

The arrangements of the table are of the same 
formal and precise nature as those of a dinner, and 
all the appointments should shine and glitter, as 
good glass and honest silver always will if servants 
do their duty by them. Few, perhaps, even of the 
wealthiest, nowadays make a display equal to that 
of the French Court in the luxurious age of Louis 
XV. Such entertainments as the following were by 
no means extraordinary : — " The table looked like 

Suppers. i6i 

a mountain of snow ; its surface was, according to 
the fashion, ribbed in fanciful and waving plaits, so 
as to represent the current of a stream crisped by 
a passing breeze. This stream bore upon its 
bosom a proud array of gold and silver vases, 
crystal cups and goblets, all of rarest workmanship. 
There were — 

' Dishes of agate set in gold, and studded 
With emeralds, sapphires, hyacinths and rubies. ' 

Fancy ran riot amongst the endless varieties of 
piquant viands ; pyramids of confectionery, piles of 
choicest fruits appeared at intervals, while antique- 
shaped urns steamed with the rich produce of the 
grape — for wines were then drank hot and spiced 
for the most part" But we must come away from 
fairy-land to our more sober country and every-day 

Supper tables can be made to look nice and 
tempting enough by the bestowal of a little care 
and ingenuity upon them. The garnishing of the 
dishes adds greatly to the general appearance of 
the table, as well as the neatness and precision 
with which those dishes are placed upon it. The 
eye may be gratified as well as the palate, but at 
the same time due care must be taken that all is 
not merely glitter and show, that appearances are 
not deceptive, but that our further acquaintance 
with what is spread before us increases our first 
admiration, and does not turn it into disappoint- 
ment and disapprobation. 

If the supper is for a small number, on an 
ordinary occasion, meats and sweets may be placed 
upon it which have appeared before, only they need 

1 62 Good Society. 

not have precisely the same form. Of this we have 
spoken elsewhere, with regard to cold luncheons ; 
and this applies equally to suppers ; but supposing 
hot dishes were required with little notice, why, 
then the remains of the chicken might be fricasseed, 
what is left of the rabbit made into a curry, a 
savoury omelette is quickly prepared, oysters are 
soon scalloped and mushrooms grilled, beef can 
be minced, a sole fried, spinach boiled and crested 
with poached eggs, sweetbreads cooked, macaroni 
and cheese made to agree, or a partridge roasted. 
Any of these dishes may be quickly served, and 
they are all suitable for the supper table. Then as 
to sweets. Tarts containing any kind of fruit, and 
moulds of every description, together with cakes, 
cheese, biscuits, and butter, form the second and 
last course. 

Now we turn to a more formidable banquet, a 
supper in connection with an evening party or ball, 
which closely resembles a wedding breakfast. 
Flowers and fruits should occupy the middle of the 
table, from one end to the other. Bonbons, 
crackers, and ornamented cakes should spring up 
on all sides, together with frothy trifles, quivering 
jellies, snowy creams, and light souffles, all placed 
in glass dishes. Then there are oyster patties, 
savoury jellies, lobster salads, veal cakes, and the 
more substantial dishes of cold salmon, game pie, 
boiled turkey, fowls boiled and roasted — these 
should have been carved before coming to table, 
and tied together in their original form with white 
satin ribbon, so that the person before whom they 
are placed has no further trouble than to untie the 
bow and put each piece on a plate as required. 
Hams, tongues, and game, everything is cold at 

Suppers, 163 

these suppers except soup, which is now often 
handed in cups. Neither vegetables nor cheese 
show themselves. Ices should be provided, and 
the beverages are sherry, claret, light and spark- 
ling wines, and the different kinds of cups, cham- 
pagne being the greatest favourite. 

K 2 



Seasons for Balls — Dances — Different Styles — Public Balls — 
How to manage them — Tickets — Introductions — Duties 
of Stewards — Fancy Dress Balls — Private Balls — Rooms 
necessary — Good Dancers — Music — Lights — Decorations 
— Cloak-room — Tea-room — Drawing-room — Ball-room 
— Duties of the Entertainers to their Guests — Partners 
to their Partners — Card-room — " Cinderella Dances." 

*• I could be pleased with any one 
Who entertained my sight with such gay shows, 
As men and women, moving here and there, 
That coursing one another in their steps, 
Have made their feet a tune." 

Dry den. 

Winter one would think to be the proper and only 
season for the enjoyment of the dance. When 
sharp north-easters blow, and icicles hang pendent 
from every roof and tree, then is the time for active 
exercise, by day and night, on the ice-bound lake 
and in the mazy whirl in the ball-room. But young 
blood always enjoys being in motion ; and dancing 
on the green turf at the close of a summer picnic, 
after an afternoon's hard work on the lawn-tennis 
ground, or a carpet waltz begun impromptu on an 
autumn evening — each and all are acceptable, and 
enjoyed with as much zest as the Twelfth-night 

Balls. 165 

ball is in cold January ; at no season is dancing 
considered unseasonable. 

It is amusing to see in what lights the ball-room 
is viewed by the chaperons and the chaperoned. 
It has been described by one of the former as ** a 
confined place in which poor creatures are con- 
demned by fashion to hard labour ; " while to one 
of the latter, the motion of the dancers appears to 
be like 

" A fine sweet earthquake gently moved 
By the soft wind of dispersing silks." 

Then, again, the style of dancing is depreciated by 
the elderly frequenters, who say there is no such 
thing as dancing nowadays, it is only running 
round the room. " In my young days,'* say they, 
" there was a heartiness in the dancing, which it 
lacks now; the young people had then some mettle 
in their heels." When we come to inquire what 
this much admired and lamented style was, we find 
that it might thus be described in the language of 
Aristophanes, " He strikes and flutters like a cock ; 
he capers in the air, he kicks up his heels to the 
stars.'' Certainly, we of the present day can lay 
claim to more grace and elegance, if not to equal 

The list of dances now in fashion is of greater 
length than it was some years ago. At that time 
the valse, the lancers, and the galop seemed to 
occupy the programme. The two first dances still 
continue to be the favourites, but others have been 
re-introduced : the polka takes turn with the 
valse, and the quadrille soraetitnes takes the 
place of that ever-bewildering, never-to-be-remem- 
bered maze, the lancers. The coquettish cotillion, 

1 66 Good Society. 

the friendly country dance, and the merry reel are 
frequently danced : of the two latter, the Swedish 
dance and the Highland schottische are chiefly 
chosen. Even the stately minuet, the galliards, 
the bransle, and the torreano, danced by courtly 
knights and dignified dames centuries ago, are 
likely to be brought forward again. 

First let us speak of public balls, amongst which 
are county balls, hunt balls, hospital balls, bachelors* 
balls — in fact, any ball for which tickets have to be 
bought in order to gain admittance. When a ball 
of this kind is in prospect, the first thing to do is 
to form a committee of gentlemen who will take an 
interest in such a proceeding, and devote their time 
and energies to carrying the plan out effectually. 
The first proceeding of the committee is to ask 
ladies of rank and position to become patronesses. 
When their consent is obtained, the ball should be 
announced in the newspapers, together with a list 
of the lady patronesses, and the names and 
addresses of the stewards. These stewards are 
appointed to manage the ball itself, and in order 
to keep the company select the tickets can be 
obtained through them and the lady patronesses 
alone. In the case of a county ball, not only must 
the names of those wishing to buy tickets be sent 
in, but if they are strangers they must present an 
introduction from some one personally known to 
the stewards or lady patronesses, as the case may 
be. A public hall or room is engaged for the 
occasion, and as a proper decorator is employed, 
we will not interfere with his ideas, but leave him 
to turn the bare and dreary room into a smiling, 
brilliant hall, a feat generally very satisfactorily 

6 ALLS, 167 

At these balls introductions are effected through 
the stewards, who wear some badge of office in the 
shape of a rosette or ribbon. If a gentleman asks 
him to find a partner, he may go to any lady he 
sees who is not dancing, and say, "May I introduce 
you to a partner for this dance ? " , The steward, 
having performed his part, retires, and the gentle- 
man asks the lady if he may have the pleasure of a 
dance with her. The steward*s post is no sinecure, 
for his aim should be not only that a ball should go 
off well, as the phrase is, but that everybody should 
enjoy it ; so if he sees any lady not dancing much, 
he should seek out gentlemen whom he can intro- 
duce to her as partners. Then the forming of the 
square dances devolves upon him ; any alterations 
in the programme must be communicated through 
him to the musicians ; he must see as well as he 
can that the chaperons have been taken in to 
supper ; and if the spirit of the entertainment 
appears to be flagging, put forth all his energies to 
revive it. Public balls begin about eleven p.m. 
and end about four a.m. 

Fancy dress balls are not of very frequent occur- 
rence ; but when the arrangements are carried out 
with spirit and ingenuity they present at once a 
most unique, gay, and imposing spectacle. People 
who attend them must go dressed in any costume 
except that they usually wear. Many assume well- 
known historical characters; others adopt the 
national costumes of different countries. It is 
always well to choose a character and style of dress 
suitable to the character, face, and figure of the 
wearer ; for instance, a fair-complexioned person 
should not assume the garb of an Italian or a 
gipsy, nor a small and insignificant one appear as 

i68 Good Society, 

Henry VIII. or Marie Antoinette. The portraits 
of the old masters afford ample and reliable inform- 
ation as to costume on a wide range for those 
who take part in these revelries. 

The first thing to be considered before deciding 
to give a private ball is whether you have rooms 
enough, and whether they are fitted for the purpose. 
In order to have your arrangements complete, six 
or seven rooms at least should be set apart for this 
festivity — two cloakrooms, tea and refreshment 
room, drawing-room for the reception, ball-room, 
card and supper rooms. Card tables can be placed 
in the drawing-room when a separate room for their 
use is not available. 

Every giver of a ball looks forward to being re- 
paid for the trouble and anxiety which it necessarily 
entails by the success of the entertainment. To 
ensure this there are one or two essential points 
which must be heeded. Of course, for the dance 
to be perfect, everything ought to be of the best — 
good room, good floor, good dancers, good music, 
and good supper ; but it is impossible to compass 
the whole of this list in every case ; therefore, the 
indispensables must be pointed out. We cannot 
alter the size and shape of our rooms, but one 
must be chosen as large as possible, and nearly 
square if possible, for a long narrow room is fatal to 
dancing ; nor can we lay our floors afresh, but we 
need not fatigue our guests by obliging them to 
dance upon carpet. There can be no doubt that 
a polished floor, such as one meets with on the 
Continent, is the pleasantest and easiest to dance 
upon, but if our boards are rough ones, a brown- 
hoUand covering stretched tightly over them will be 
a good substitute for more substantial smoothness, 

Balls, 169 

if properly done, and is far preferable to another 
device which is sometimes most unwisely resorted 
to — viz., waxing the floor. A short time ago I 
was at a large ball in a county town where this 
was done, and the misery and vexation to which it 
gave rise were very great. Not only were our feet 
glued to the floor, to be severed only by a deter- 
mined wrench at every step we took, but the de- 
struction of dress was terrible — velvets, silks, and 
satins were quite spoilt by the wax which adhered 
to them ; and no doubt many were the secret tears 
shed that night when the fair wearers laid them by. 
Good dancers, too, it is not within the pow^ of 
any hostess to command. She can only invite people 
who dance — she cannot ensure their dancing well. 
She must invite many guests, too, to fill her rooms, 
and those who dance well are few. This accomplish- 
ment is acquired to a certain degree by every girl, 
but whether it is that the other sex are constitution- 
ally gauche^ or that they have not been vouchsafed 
the same opportunities, we will not decide ; certain 
it is that " bad partners " are more frequently com- 
plained of by the ladies than by the gentlemen — 

•' Her feet beneath her petticoat 
Like little mice peeped in and out, 

As if they feared the light ; 
And oh ! she dances such a way 
No sun upon an Easter day 

Were half so fine a sight." 

And now read a general description of a gentleman 
dancing the lancers* — 

" Her partner has never spoken during the first 

* Saturday Review. 

fjo Good Society, 

four figures. He has no memoria technica to help 
him. When he valses he counts aloud. His 
ideas are beginning to desert him, and he is pushed 
into the middle as some kind of bewildering music 
commences. He remembers that there are two 
women in pink and one in blue who belong to his 
set, but the nondescript appearance of the fourth 
upsets all his calculations. He runs about aim- 
lessly, is found advancing with four girls, now 
giving both his hands to one of his own sex, now 
standing motionless on a dress. The result is 
disastrous, and he emerges out of the slough of 
despond bewildered and haggard." 

Good music is a sine qua non. If this be not 
secured — no matter whether the entertainment be 
what is called a " dance " or a " ball " — it will 
certainly be a failure. The want of it destroys 
all chance of enjoyment. It is impossible to 
dance well to bad music. "Bad music" means 
uneven, uncertain playing, and this is sure to be 
the result when amateurs attempt to play for 
dancers. Then, too, it is unfair to impose such 
a laborious and monotonous task on your guests. 
If the party is to be a small one, have a proficient 
man or woman to play the piano ; if it be a 
large one, then one or two instruments as well as 
the piano are necessary, such as violin, cornet, or 
harp, varied by the addition of bells and triangles. 
The place in the room that these musicians should 
occupy is a difficult matter to decide. They 
always seem in the way. The saying about 
children, that they should be seen and not heard, 
should be reversed, if possible, with this band of 
musicians. They should be heard but not seen; 
or at any rate their bodily presence should not 

Balls, 171 

be obtrusive. The best plan we have seen is to 
place a little wooden hut outside the windows 
of the dancing room, and take out the window 
frame, at the same time screening it as much as 
possible with evergreens, ferns, and flowers; but 
of course this is not always practicable, for several 

The supper has been treated of in another 
chapter, so we will only emphasise the necessity 
for substantiality as well as elegance, and pass on 
to other details. 

All the rooms in the house should be brilliantly 
hghted, for light induces gaiety and mirth. Dark- 
ness engenders silence and gloom. The illumi- 
nation of the ball-room is another difficulty which 
besets the giver of dances, especially if the house 
be a country one. Gas makes a room very hot 
and oppressive, no doubt, but it is the easiest 
and most effectual mode of lighting a room, if it is 
available, and good ventilation can do much to 
remedy the evils it carries with it. Wax candles 
are objectionable on these occasions, because, 
fanned and irritated by the continual motion of 
the dancers, they drop their waxy tears on coat 
and dress, the traces of which remain for ever 
and a day. French lamps, placed on brackets at 
short distances, and high enough to be out of the 
way, shed the softest and most pleasing light. If 
the dance is of long duration, the lamps may 
require to be re-trimmed one by one during the 
course of the evening, or darkness will perchance 
descend upon the scene. 

There cannot be too great a display of flowers. 
The fireplaces should be screened with them or 
with large ferns, so filled as to resemble a garden 

17^ Good Society, 

bank. The mantelpieces may be covered with 
small tin trays, containing flowers. Console tables, 
or any other flat surface, may be decorated in like 
manner; and on the staircase, below the banister, 
flowers are often arranged so as to appear as if 
growing there. In fact, the whole should resemble 
as near as may be the ball-rooms in France during 
the luxurious age of the famed Louis Quatorze, 
of which we read that " perfumes exhaled from 
a thousand aromatic lamps, fragrant exotics 
filled the air with their sweet scents, while music 
soft and low breathed from a band of unseen 

A broad piece of carpet should be unrolled from 
the hall door to the carriage steps ; and where the 
distance between the two is great, an awning 
should be stretched over the passage. As the 
guests arrive, they are ushered into the cloak- 
rooms. A maid should be at her post in that 
reserved for ladies, to give her aid in straightening 
dresses, arranging hair, and removing all trace of 
the slight disorder caused by the carriage drive. 
She should be armed with needle and thread to 
sew up the inevitable tears and rents which occur 
during the evening's campaign. It is also well to 
number hats, shawls, and cloaks, that they may 
be restored as quickly as possible to their owners 
on their departure. The lady having put a finish- 
ing touch to her hair, and the gentleman to his 
tie, the two are next conducted to the tea-room. 
Here a table is laid out with tea and coffee, cakes 
and biscuits, the beverages being dispensed by a 
servant. After having partaken of a cup of one or 
other, the new arrivals emerge from this room and 
are then shown into the drawing-room, where the 

Balls, 173 

lady of the house receives her guests Dancing 
should begin directly there is a sufficient number 
of people present to make a respectable show. 
In quadrilles and other square dances, those couples 
who are at the top of the room always begin the 

The different members of the family should all 
unite in trying to secure the pleasure of their 
guests, by noting those who are comparative 
strangers, and introducing them to partners, rather 
giving up their own than allowing their guests to 
feel themselves neglected. It is considered to be 
the duty of the son of the house to dance with 
each lady, and the daughter must not be partial, 
nor ever refuse to accept as a partner any guest of 
her father's for at least one dance. A lady and 
gentleman of my acquaintance went not long ago 
to a private ball, and, as it happened, found them- 
selves strangers to all present. This need have 
been no drawback, if their entertainers had done 
their parts well ; but as it was, they were left entirely 
to themselves, and not introduced to anybody. So 
they danced with one another, went by themselves 
to supper, and then went home deeply and justly 
annoyed by the want of thought, to designate it 
by no harsher name, displayed by their host and 
hostess and their sons and daughters. Such 
neglect is unpardonable. 

The tea-room can be used as a refreshment- 
room ; if possible, it should be on the same floor 
as the dancing-room. The table should be well 
supplied with ices and cups of claret, cider, and 
champagne ; lemonade, sherry, coffee, small cakes, 
biscuits, and wafers. Two or three servants should 
be in constant attendance. 

174 Good Society, ' 

The fashion of programmes has become almost 
obsolete at the best London balls, which is a pity, 
as they were not only pretty souvenirs of the balls 
of a season, but also most convenient aids to 
memory at the time being ; for if a girl has many 
partners it is no easy matter for her to remember 
to whom she is engaged for each dance. However, 
the capricious goddess for the time wills it other- 
wise, and only at country balls are programmes 
still found to survive. 

It is considered " bad manners " if a man fails 
to come and claim his partner when the dance 
is about to commence, or for the lady to break her 
promise by accepting any other partner who may 
have asked for the pleasure of the same dance in 
the interim. 

If a lady declines to dance with any one who 
may request her, but with whom she does not wish 
to become acquainted, and has no plea of a former 
engagement to offer for her refusal, the best course 
to take is, not to dance that particular dance at 
all, and then any chance of hurting the feelings of 
the rejected one is avoided. 

The number of times that a lady should dance 
with the same partner, except under special cir- 
cumstances, should be limited. Never so often as 
either to attract observation, or to call forth re- 
marks on the subject. 

After a dance the gentleman asks his partner 
whether she will take any refreshment, and if she 
replies in the affirmative he escorts her to the room 
and procures her an ice, offers to hold a cup for 
her, and when the music for the next dance 
begins he conducts her to her chaperon, when 
she disengages herself from his arm, they bow to 

Balls, 175 

one another, and he leaves her. It is not cus- 
tomary to promenade much after a dance. 

Private balls usually begin at ten p.m., and end 
about three a.m. ; supper at one a.m. 

The gentleman with whom the lady has been 
last dancing generally takes her in to supper. 

It is necessary to bid good-night to your 
hostess, but you go away quietly, that your de- 
parture may not be noticed, lest it should tend to 
break up the party. 

In the foregoing pages, public and private balls 
on a large scale have been described. The enter- 
tainments known by the name of " Cinderella 
Dances'* are of a less elaborate and expensive 
character. They originated from the desire of 
young people to meet frequently for the pleasure 
of dancing. A "Cinderella Dance" begins at 
eight p.m., and ends as the clock strikes the hour 
of midnight — hence the origin of the title. No 
supper is provided or expected ; refreshments such 
as coffee, tea, biscuits, and claret only, are set on 
the tables. 



Amateur Acting — Charades ^Tableaux Vivants — Wax- Work 
Exhibitions — Private Theatricals. 

••And then, and much it helped his chance— 
He could sing and play first fiddle and dance, 
Perform charades and proverbs of France." 


Charades, tableaux vivants^ wax-work exhibitions, 
and private theatricals are excellent amusements 
for winter evenings, and more especially for house- 
holds in the country, where all the excitement must 
be provided within doors. There are many 
occasions where the want is felt of some fresh 
enlivenment. Dancing night after night becomes 
monotonous, but acting is always interesting, and 
it provides occupation and amusement for the day- 
time also, in the preparation of dresses and scenes 
and the learning and rehearsal of parts. This 
taste for amateur acting has spread so rapidly that 
it would seem as if the rising generation of this 
country would resemble the Greeks, and be " one 
entire nation of actors and actresses." 

A paterfamilias who is blessed with a quiver full 
of olive-branches, being thus provided with a suffi- 
cient company for his domestic stage, may cast % 

Private Theatricals. 177 

play to his own liking without having the trouble 
to go abroad for his theatrical amusements. 

As an American writer* well remarks, "It is 
pleasant to see and hear real gentlemen and ladies, 
who do not think it necessary to mouth and rant 
and stride, like too many of our stage heroes and 
heroines, in the characters which show off their 
graces and talents ; and most of all, to see a fresh, 
unrouged, unspoiled, high-bred young maiden, 
with a lithe figure and a pleasant voice, acting in 
those love dramas that make us young again to 
look upon, when real youth and beauty will play 
them for us.'* 

Charades are the easiest of these three amuse- 
ments, both to act and to arrange. They can be 
got up in a very short space of time — indeed, they 
are often the best when quite impromptu. They 
are a great help in entertaining a room full of pro- 
miscuous people. In the country, where friends 
and neighbours are invited to tea and supper, it 
often happens that midway between the two the 
evening begins to ** drag," as the term is. Perhaps 
the majority of the guests do not care for music. 
The conversation grows slow and faint. What can 
the hostess do to revive the drooping spirits of the 
party ? Charades are the very kind of excitement 
required to infuse life and merriment into the 
dejected, silent company. No special talent is 
needed. A few of the young people are despatched 
into another room to arrange the charade. A 
word of two or three syllables is chosen, of which 
each syllable is a word of itself, and is acted as 
such. For instance, the word " infantry '* might be 

* O. W. Holmes. 

178 Good Society, 

selected. There would be a scene for each syllable 
— an inn, we will say, an evening party, and a vil- 
lage school, and the whole word represented by a 
regiment of soldiers. Someone should be placed 
at the head of this, band as leader, who will urge 
decision on the word to be chosen, and suggest the 
characters to be adopted, and by whom they are to 
be personated ; otherwise much time will be spent 
in useless discussion, and those who await the 
return of the actors into the drawing-room will 
grow weary. Then as to the dresses, they are 
selected out of those hastily collected together; 
and quick wits will soon convert a few shawls, 
cloaks, &c., into most wonderful and imposing cos- 
tumes. Great results are attained by the means of 
wigs, spectacles, and burnt cork. The more com- 
plete the transformation the greater the fun — gentle- 
men dressed as ladies, children metamorphosed 
into adults, thin people made up into stout ones — 
any change, in fact, but that of ladies donning male 
attire. The drawing-room is the scene of action. 
One end of it is arranged for what it is to repre- 
sent, as cleverly as means at command and time 
will allow, and then the actors troop in and begin 
to represent the scene chosen in the best way 
that they can by their words and actions. The 
chief actor should keep his eye on his sub- 
ordinates during the performance ; he should move 
about and keep up the conversation, as there 
should never be a pause ; and when he sees their in- 
ventive powers begin to flag, he should retire with 
his company in as natural a manner as possible. 
The scenes should not be of long duration, and the 
amateurs should have all their wits about them, 
to make the conversation as smart as possible; 

Priva te The a tricals, i 7 9 

never be tongue-tied or nervous ; and, above all, 
they must have their risible muscles well under 
command, so that if one of their companions raises 
a laugh amongst the audience, either by grotesque 
appearance or lively sallies, the other actors must 
not be tempted to join. Indeed, those who wish 
to act well must throw themselves entirely into 
their characters. Charades are frequently per- 
formed in dumb-show. 

Tableaux vivanis require more time and care in 
. the arrangements. It is possible to get them up 
hastily; but to be really effective, rehearsals are 
requisite. As the name denotes, they are pictures 
merely, and therefore the costume and the position 
are all that there is to study. The best plan is to 
select some well-known painting, either with one 
or several figures in it, and copy it as closely in 
dress and attitude as may be, or a scene out of a 
book or play. " Fortitude," one of Sir J. Reynolds' 
paintings ; Paul de la Roche's " Marie Antoinette 
returning from the Revolutionary Tribunal ; '' 
"Reading the Newspaper," by Sir David Wilkie; 
Ary Scheffer's well-known ** St. Augustine with his 
mother, Ste. Monica,'' are good subjects for repre- 
sentation. " King Alfred in the Neatherd's Cottage," 
;* The Princes in the Tower," " The Nobles offer- 
ing the Crown to Lady Jane Grey," and many other 
historical subjects, might be selected. Good illus- 
trated editions of Shakespeare and other standard 
books furnish an ample field for choice ; but care 
should be taken to select subjects which differ as 
widely as possible one from the other in character, 
as the striking contrasts presented by varied tableaux 
add greatly to the general effect. The figure or group 
should be placed exactly like the original^ atCd 
L 2 

i8o Good Society. 

should remain motionless — we might say breathless 
— for the few moments during which the audi- 
ence are permitted to gaze upon the living picture. 
Tableaux should be acted in a room that has fold- 
ing doors. These should be put back or taken off 
the hinges, and a pair of curtains, which can be 
drawn at the sides like window curtains, be arranged 
across the opening ; for drapery arranged in this 
manner adds greatly to the effect of the picture. 
Behind these curtains stretch coarse green tarlatan, 
doubled. This subdues and softens the light, which 
ought to come from the side. The background 
of the picture should be dark, so as to throw 
out the figures in front. A large folding screen, 
covered with some dark material, will answer this 

A wax-work exhibition is a species of tableaux 
vivants which is now frequently acted. People are 
dressed to represent different characters, and are 
placed on an improvised platform, or in niches, 
corners, window recesses, and different parts of a 
room, into which the spectators are brought to see 
the show. There should be someone well quali- 
fied to describe each figure. After this has been 
done, the exhibitor proceeds to wind up the 
figures by clock-work. This idea is conveyed by 
winding a watchman*s rattle slowly, or some other 
such device. Each figure should then move some 
part of the body slowly, and with a slightly spas- 
modic action. 

Private theatricals require more talent than either 
of the two kinds of acting that we have described, 
in that the actors have to learn their parts by heart. 
Many rehearsals are necessary, and much patience 
and perseverance are needful if the performance 


is to be a success. They need not be costly 
entertainments ; and when well carried out, none 
give greater pleasure and amusement to all con- 
cerned. It is absolutely necessary that a com- 
mander-in-chief should be appointed, one who 
will direct and supervise the whole affair. Amateur 
actors are apt to be very enthusiastic at first, and 
eagerly take the parts assigned to them (a very 
delicate task, by the way, that of apportioning to 
each one the roie which he or she is to play) ; they 
begin industriously to learn their parts, repeat them 
with great zest at the first rehearsal, and then too 
often their zeal abates, and idleness creeps over 
them, and the whipper-in has no small task in 
urging them to complete the work begun, and to 
make another effort with the half-learned part, 
which at present the prompter has to repeat almost 

Our early ancestors strewed their stages with 
rushes, and before each act hung up the nawe of 
the scene in lieu of the scene itself; but such 
simplicity does not content us. We should deem so 
primitive a performance very tame and uninterest- 
ing. If the entertainment is to be carried out to 
perfection, all that requires to be done in the way 
of scenery and dresses is to write to a London 
decorator and costumier, mentioning the plays that 
are to be acted, and they will make all the neces- 
sary arrangements for fitting up and providing 
scenery and dresses. Every detail will be attended 
to ; all difficulties will vanish. The following sug- 
gestions, though somewhat theoretical and ideal, 
might, we think, be made practicable, and, if so, 
would add greatly to the tout ensemble, "The 
stage scenery, orchestra, &c., should be planned on 

1 82 Good Society, 

a model new, original, and peculiar to themselves,' 
so distinguished from our public theatres that they 
should not strike the eye like a copy in miniature, 
but as the independent sketch of a master who 
disdains to copy. Many noble halls and stately 
apartments in the great houses and castles of our 
nobility would give an artist ample field for fancy. 
Halls and saloons, flanked with interior columns, 
and surrounded by galleries, would, with the aid 
of proper draperies or scenery in the intercolumnia- 
tions, take a rich and elegant appearance ; and at 
the same time the music might be so disposed in 
the gallery as to produce a most animating effect." 

The same writer also suggests that the play itself 
should only be a part of the entertainment, woven 
into a grand fete, and that the spectators should 
not be left to doze in their seats, but be called 
upon in the intervals, by music, dance, and refresh- 
ment, to change the sameness of the scene. If, on 
the other hand, the expense of hiring the portable 
theatre is an obstacle, or the distance from town is 
too great, then the inventive faculties must be set 
to work to supply the many requisites in scenery 
and dress. " Cest des difficult^s que naissent des 
miracles " (out of difficulties grow miracles), says 
La Bruytire. 

With the help of a carpenter great things may 
be effected. The stage should be a platform, raised 
some distance from the floor, and if possible should 
slope slightly from back to front. A strip of board 
a few inches high should run along the edge, at 
the back of which are placed the footlights. For 
these lights gas can be easily laid on from the 
nearest pipe. If that convenience is not within 
reach, then small oil-lamps or candles must supply 

Private TnEATkicALs. 183 

the want. Two curtains will answer the purpose 
of a drop scene. These should be long and wide 
enough to cover the whole front of the stage when 
let down, and of some heavy texture. The proper 
working of these curtains should be well ascertained 
beforehand, or they are likely to cause awkward 
dilemmas when they do not fall and rise instant- 
aneously. The method to be adopted is to fasten 
two cords where the two curtains meet in the 
centre, and work them over hooks placed on the 
top corners right and left. These cords should be 
fastened to the curtains at intervals of a foot. 

If modern plays are acted, not much stage 
scenery need be used. The side screens can be 
made of frames of wood covered with canvas. 
Doors and windows can also be easily formed in 
the same way. A great deal can be done with 

In most play-books there is a full description of 
the scenery required and the dresses requisite for 
the different characters. 

If the play chosen be one representing life in 
bygone days, the costumes will be more difficult 
to prepare at home, for so much satin, velvet, 
gold and silver lace as our gaily, richly-clothed 
ancestors wore do not generally form part of our 
possessions. Dresses of this kind it is better to hire 
from a costumier. It is wonderful, however, what 
study and thought can produce, and what brilliant 
ideas spring up when one is forced by necessity 
to invent something. I read the other day an 
account of some theatricals acted on board ship a 
thousand miles from any shop, so wits were forced 
to devise, and did devise, wonders. " Once,'' says 
the writer (Lady Barker), " we manufactured some 

184 CooD Society, 

large silver buttons for an old-fashioned coat out 
of the round pieces of white metal which cover 
the corks of soda-water bottles ; we polished them 
up till they shone brightly. Then we cut them 
into shape, and punched a couple of holes in the 
centre, which made them at once brilliant and 
beautiful buttons, all ready to be sewed on. Upon 
the same occasion we required a * black lutestring 
figured blue.' This nearly drove us distracted ; 
for although there were dozens of old black silk 
dresses on board, not one had any figures. At last 
the happy idea came into someone's head to 
borrow a set of paste cutters from the cook and 
some light blue tissue paper from the steward. 
We stamped out a number of little shamrocks 
with one of the cutters, and then pasted them all 
over the silk gown. The effect was beautiful. 
Beards and wigs we made out of unravelled yarn. 
They looked rather too curly, but we powdered 
them well with flour.'* 



• • What sport shall we devise here in the gai'den 
To diive away the heavy thought oT care ? 
Madam, we'll play at bowls ; 
Madam, we'll dance." Richard II, 

The chief thing required to make a garden party 
enjoyable is fine weather, a bright, sunshiny, calm 
day, when the mere pleasure of being out of doors 
almost compensates for the lack of other adjuncts. 
This special enjoyment we cannot insure for our 
guests, but there are other pleasures which lie within 
our compass of provision. See that the gardens 
and grounds are in perfect order— not a leaf to be 
seen on the neatly-cut, freshly-rolled lawns and 
walks ; not a single weed in the trim flower-beds. 
Tents of various picturesque forms can be erected 
here and there for refreshments ; a small band of 
musicians with stringed instruments, or a company 
of glee-singers hidden from general view, can dis- 
course sweet music at intervals, and enliven the 
scene. A lawn-tennis ground (two or more such 
spaces if possible) should be provided for the amuse- 
ment of tennis players, of whom in the present day 
there are always a considerable number amongst 

1 86 Good Society, 

garden-party guests. Tea, coffee, and cakes of many 
kinds should be in readiness for the guests on 
their arrival, and later, these should be replaced 
by ices, claret-cup, strawberries, grapes, peaches, 
melons, and the like. 

The greater number of people invited to a garden 
party the better. Then friends meet friends — a 
desirable end, as introductions are not made. 

As soon as the guests arrive they are conducted 
to the garden, where they find the hostess near 
the entrance of the garden or some particular tent 
— any place that is a convenient position for receiv- 
ing her visitors before they pass on and mingle 
with the other guests. The hostess has no onerous 
duties to perform on an occasion of this kind, as 
no introductions are made. Having received her 
guests, she is permitted to desert her post and 
enjoy the company of her friends, unfettered by 
the thought of any duty, except the pleasant one 
of saying a few words to each one of her guests ; 
nor need she be disturbed for the bidding of 
adieuXy a formality which is not required at these 
informal gatherings. 

There is a duty which devolves upon the host or 
upon the son of the house; failing these, it must be 
undertaken by a specially-appointed friend, or by a 
daughter of the house. This duty is to direct in 
some measure the games on the tennis-lawn. Many 
\ tennis parties are dull and spiritless owing to this 
want of supervision. It is essential that a chief 
should arrange sets, should go about amongst the 
guests — who, if they are players, are generally to be 
found watching the games — and ask them if they 
have played, or would like to do so. Guests who 
are strangers to each other often do not come 

Garden Parties, 187 

forward to arrange games, and thus it sometimes 
happens that the ground is unused for a length of 
time, although there are numbers of ladies all the 
while longing to play ; and it also sometimes 
happens that one set of tennis players take pos- 
session of a ground, and play set after set, to the 
exclusion of other players. These drawbacks to 
general enjoyment can and should be prevented 

Garden parties begin about four o'clock, and 
unless mention is especially made of dancing, the 
company separates between seven and eight. 

It is well to specify on the card of invitation the 

nature of the entertainment, in order that the 

guests may be attired accordingly. At the fetes 

chanipetres given by Queen Anne, the guests were 

expected to sail about in full dress ; and as a view 

of the Broad Walk at Kensington, which was the 

favourite promenade, could be commanded from 

Hyde Park, the poor commonalty could have a 

peep, and could criticise the high-born guests who 

glided about the garden in ** brocaded robes, 

hoops, fly-caps, and fans." 

The present fashion is to wear morning dress, 
but as picturesque as you please ; indeed, the 
ladies should look like butterflies fluttering about ; 
if archery is to be the amusement, a different 
costume is required from that worn for lawn-tennis ; 
and if a dance is to end the day, then the style of 
dress would again be altered, though it would 
never diverge into "full dress." When the sun 
shows his face, a garden party is one of the 
prettiest sights imaginable — the smooth green turf, 
with its bright bordering of flowers ; the gaily- 
dressed company reposing under shady trees, 
pacing the sward, darting hither and thither on the 

1 88 Good Societv. 

lawn-tennis ground, or displaying their prowess at 
the target, the whole 

• • Canopied by the blue skv, 
So cloudless, pure, and beautiful." 

If this entertainment be a country one, the 
guests adjourn to the house at sunset, and there 
partake of a substantial supper, after which they 
drive home ; or the day is concluded by a moon- 
light dance on the lawn, or in one of the tents, 
and the garden and grounds are sometimes illu- 
minated with Chinese lanterns and small coloured 
lamps hung in festoons from the trees, which make 
the evening scene as picturesque as that of the 



Why People enjoy Picnics — Private Picnics — Conveyance of 
Guests and of Provisions — Subscription Picnic - Election 
and Duties of a Manager — Things not to be forgotten — 
Provisions and Beverages — Tea. 

" Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds. 
Exhilarate the spirit, and restore 
The tone of languid nature." 


*' The days when we went a-gypsying, 
A long time ago." 

Old Song. 

There are plenty of people who enjoy picnics 
besides the children for whose benefit ihey are 
generally supposed to be arranged. Rural sights 
and rural sounds, when all nature is alive and gay 
in the glad summer time, have a happy and genial 
effect on the most misanthropical of persons; then, 
too, the absence of all state and ceremony, the 
liberty, the entire change and freedom from etiquette, 
conduce to gaiety of spirit and mirth. After all, 
it is the novelty which is the great charm, for the 
same set of people whom you now see making 
merry over the salt and the sugar having fraternised 
by the way, and who now declare it to be the summit 
of human felicity to sit in an uncomfortable position 

190 Good Society, 

upon something never intended to be a seat, beside 
a table-cloth which, being spread upon an uneven 
and elastic surface, causes everything that should 
remain perpendicular to assume a horizontal atti- 
tude — these same people would grumble loudly did 
such things occur daily. At the end of a week 
they would be seriously annoyed and put out of 
temper by the reappearance of the inevitable frog 
which they now laugh at so heartily as it hops 
across the table-cloth, and, losing its presence of 
mind on finding itself so suddenly launched into 
fashionable life, seeks refuge in the heart of a 
pigeon pie. Such little contretemps add im- 
mensely to the liveliness and hilarity of a picnic, 
because, coming but once in a way, they can 
hardly be looked upon as discomforts. 

It might be imagined that as a picnic is a kind 
of scramble, there can be but few arrangements 
to make, but in reality an excursion of this kind 
entails much labour and thought on the " getters- 
up." There are private picnics and subscription 
ones. Speaking of the former, the first thing to 
plan, after the place is fixed upon, must be how to 
convey your guests there. If possible, they should 
go in different ways ; some in carriages of various de- 
scriptions, large wagonettes being the pleasantest ; 
some on horseback; some by boat, it may be; 
but never in a long procession, reminding one of 
the string of vans full of children, or members of 
various benefit clubs going to Epping Forest or 
Bushey Park for the day, who wave their pocket- 
handkerchiefs at each passer-by in a friendly way, 
and are never weary of the perpetual twang of the 
two or three instruments which accompany them. 
We have known pleasant parties to be arranged by 

Excursions and Picnics, 191 

railway, when a saloon carriage has been engaged 
for the occasion, although the very name seems to 
put an end to all idea of rural enjoyment. 

The provisions should have a separate vehicle 
allotted to them, and not be scattered about in the 
different carriages, a basket stowed away in one 
corner, a hamper thrust under another seat, and so 
forth. Na; a light cart is the best kind of convey- 
ance for the delicacies. There are now very con^ 
venient hampers made for the better packing and 
conveying of provisions to these alfresco entertain- 
ments, so that the pies and the patties do not present 
such a depressed appearance as heretofore, and the 
cayenne is not so likely to mingle indiscriminately 
with things in general, and the sweets in particular, 
as "in the days when we went gypsy ing." I'he 
meats, pies, &c., should all be wrapped in clean 
cloths. The servants — not too many, please, or 
we shall have too much state and ceremony — 
accompanying the cart should start in good time, 
so as to be at the destination when the company 
arrives, for it is best to dine or tea, whichever it 
may be, immediately, and disperse at pleasure after- 
wards. If children have a voice in the matter, tea 
is chosen, for the delight of making the fire is 
intense, in spite of the blinding, suffocating smoke 
which is the invariable accompaniment. At the 
end of the chapter will be found a list of things 
which may be taken to a picnic. Of course, all the 
provisions are cooked beforehand, except it may be 
that potatoes are roasted, or, if possible, a dish of 
hot fish is prepared on the spot. 

When a subscription picnic is decided upon, a 
manager or manageress should be elected, and he 
or she should devise a plan for equally dividing the 

192 Good Society. 

duty of providing, and also of sharing the respon- 
sibilities of the day. Unless this is done, the 
greatest confusion will ensue, for people's ideas run 
singularly in one direction. When the time arrives 
for unpacking the baskets, it will be found that 
everybody has brought forks, and no one has 
thought of spoons ; pigeon pies — which seem asso- 
ciated in everybody's mind with picnics — will come 
out of every hamper, while the plainer and more 
substantial dishes, such as lamb and beef, have not 
been remembered. A list should be made and 
given to each contributor a few days beforehand 
of things for which he or she will be held respon- 
sible, and this should be so arranged that each 
should bring some of the crockery or glass, as 
well as eatables. It is also better that one 
person should provide all that is required of one 
kind, than that several should be supplied by the 
same individual. For instance, one person might 
be asked to contribute all the fruit as their share, 
and be responsible for the appearance of all the 
plates required ; another supply the joints of meat, 
together with knives and forks ; a third, the pastry 
and the glass ; another, the rolls of bread, cheese, 
and the silver, and so on. The gentlemen of the 
party generally contribute the beverages, and they 
might have their division — one bring sherry, another 
the bottled beer, a third soda-water, and so on. 
Two or three corkscrews ought to be taken, and a 
small gong is useful to collect the party together, 
either for the meal itself or the departure. Mint 
sauce and salad dressing in bottles, pounded sugar, 
and the other condiments, mustard, salt, and 
pepper, should be particularly remembered. 

For an out-door luncheon, the following list of 

Excursions and Picnics. 193 

provisions will be found the most suitable : — Cold 
roast beef, ribs and shoulder of lamb, roast fowls, 
ducks, ham, pressed tongue; beefsteak, pigeon, 
and grouse pies, game, veal patties*, lobsters, cucum- 
bers and lettuces for salad, cheese-cakes, jam or 
marmalade turnovers, stewed fruit in bottles, bottle 
of cream, college puddings, blancmange in mould, 
plain biscuits to eat with fruit and cheese, rolls, 
butter, cream cheese, and fresh fruit. Bottled beer 
and porter, claret, sherry, champagne, soda-water, 
lemonade, cherry-brandy. 

For tea : — Loaves of bread, sponge-cakes, plum- 
cakes, buns, rolls, butter, potted fish and meats, 
tongue, cheese-cakes, plain and sweet biscuits, 
fruits, bottle of cream, and tea. It is useless to 
attempt to make coffee on an occasion of this kind, 
unless the company is capable of appreciating the 
fragrant berry in its best form, i.e., Turkish coffee, 
which can be made to perfection in an ordinary 
saucepan, wherein it should be allowed just to 
come to boiling point three times in succession, 
and then served while the rich brown foam is still 
on the surface. 



Field Sports — Hunting — Shooting — Fishing ^Boating — 

Tricycling —Skating. 

' ' We'll make you some sport with the fox 
Ere we case him." 

AlVs Well that Ends Well, 

"God made the country and man made the town." 


" Mens sana in corpore sano," Juvenal tells us, is 
the greatest gift bestowed, by the gods, and modern 
science has proved clearly enough that the body 
acts on the mind as well as vice versd — that our 
mental faculties are seldom able fully to develop 
themselves into perfect action unless the body be 
in a healthy state. 

Now we do not intend to enter into a learned 
disquisition as to all the means by which these 
crazy frames of ours are kept in good repair, but 
to assert boldly that one great aid towards pre- 
serving them in proper order lies in the judicious 
use of field sports and amusements. 

Corroding, carking care vanishes into thin air 
when the ardent lover of these pursuits gives 
himself thoroughly up for the nonce to the en- 
joyment of them. What more exhilarating sound 

Field Sports and Amusements, 195 

than the sonorous yelping of the hounds giving 
tongue, or the yet more joyful shout, "Gone 
away ! " — 

' ' When a southerly wind and a cloudy sky 
Proclaim it a hunting morning." 

What town-wearied man does not feel refreshed 
and reinvigorated as he climbs the hills with a 
gun on his shoulder and a dog at his heels ? and for 
the time being is not his one wish — 

' ' Give me the naked heavens above. 
The broad bare heath below " ? 

The angler, boater, and skater each experiences 
keen enjoyment from his own particular pastime. 
Field sports have always proved the best corrector 
of that "effeminacy which refined luxury is apt 
to produce," and it is a happy circumstance when 
a taste prevails for such amusements as, while 
they add grace, health, and vigour to the body, 
have " no tendency to enfeeble and corrupt the 

The sport par excellence of the Englishman is 
hunting, and the English are the only nation who 
will ride hard at the chase. Dr. Johnson, who 
followed the fox with as much glee as anybody, 
says a Frenchman goes out upon a managed horse, 
and capers in the field, and no more thinks of 
jumping a hedge than of mounting a breach ; and 
he relates an anecdote of a certain Lord Powers- 
court who laid a wager in France that he would 
ride a great many miles in a certain short space of. 
time. Thereupon it appears the French Acade- 
micians set to work, and calculated that from the 
M 2 

196 Good Soc/etv. 

resistance of the air it was an impossibility ! How- 
ever, his English lordship performed the feat 

Nor is this sport confined to gentlemen alone. 
Many a fair lady may be seen on her well-groomed, 
glossy-coated hunter, following the hounds. 

At one period the chase of the stag was highly 
popular in Britain, and our countrywomen had hunt- 
ing expeditions on their own account. Sketches 
of these " fast " ladies are by no means rare. I have 
seen one copied from a manuscript of the fourteenth 
century, which depicts a huntress seated astride on 
her palfrey, and blowing a horn to cheer her dog 
and stimulate her archeress. The latter answers 
the call by planting an arrow between the horns 
of a stag. 

And at a later date Englishwomen still continued 
to attend the chase. Our good Queen Bess was 
a lover of this sport ; and Queen Anne was an in- 
defatigable huntress, so much so that when her 
failing health obliged her to discontinue equestrian 
exercise, she followed the chase in a light one-horse 
chaise in which she had been known to drive herself 
forty and fifty miles during the day. 

When the stag was brought to bay it was con- 
sidered a mark of gallantry on the part of one of 
the hunters to offer the fatal weapon to some fair 
huntress, who thus had the privilege of cutting the 
deer's throat, a feat which required not only a sharp 
double-edged hunting-knife, but a steady arm and 
strong nerve, for it was a task by no means devoid 
of danger. In the " Bride of Lammermoor " we 
read, " It was not without a feeling bordering upon 
j::ontempt that the enthusiastic hunter observed 
Lucy Ashton refused the hunter's knife presented 
t,o her, for the purpose of making the first incision 

Field Sports and Amusements. 197 

into the stag's breast, and thereby discovering the 
quality of the venison." 

Our fair sisters of the present day are not guilty 
of such sanguinary deeds, but show their bravery 
by leaping ditch and hedge, and often being " in 
at the death," and so receiving as a tribute of 
praise the brush of- Master Reynard from the 
hands of some gallant gentleman of the hunt. 

A lady's hunting dress is plain and useful, but a 
very becoming one withal. It consists of a dark- 
coloured tight-fitting habit, made with a very short 
skirt, or it will get sadly bespattered with mud. A 
plain linen collar is worn round the throat, fastened 
by a stud. Linen cuffs and tan-leather gloves finish 
the costume. The description of hat worn is a 
matter of choice. Some ladies wear the high- 
crowned beaver, and some prefer the low-crowned 
felt hat. Of late years, many ladies have taken to 
wear " pink " coats fashioned on the lines of a man's 
hunting coat ; and very smart the scarlet coat looks 
with a dark habit skirt. Others are satisfied with a 
scarlet waistcoat, and in any case where a coat is 
worn the greatest care must be taken as to the 
proper tying of the hunting scarf that should finish 
off the neck. Sometimes when ladies have exhi- 
bited their ** straight riding" for a certain length of 
time with a pack of hounds, the master will present 
them with ** the button " of the hunt, and then they 
are entitled to wear the colours of that particular 
hunt — say a blue coat with buff facings, or dark 
green and scarlet, as the case happens to be. 

The gentlemen's dress depends upon the fashion 
of the particular hunt of which they are members, 
as each has its peculiar costume ; but the ordinary 
dress of a hunting man is either a scarlet or a dark- 

198 Good Society. 

green coat, cut square (for the swallow-tail is obso- 
lete), knee-breeches made of white or drab " cords," 
top-boots, and a tall hat, or a cap of black velvet, 
with a small stiff peak. Spurs must not be for- 
gotten, and a scarf of cashmere, fastened by a pin, 
will be found more convenient wear and look more 
suitable than a tie. But it is not proper for a man 
to appear in ** pink " or green, unless he is a regular 
member of some hunt, and is a bond, fide hunting 
man, who means to ride straight across country. 

The place appointed for the "meet" is duly 
advertised in the newspapers. The first and last of 
the season generally take place at the residence 
of the master of the hounds. Our forefathers 
threw off the pack as soon as they could distinguish 
a stile from a gate. They had six o'clock break- 
fasts ; while we, more indolent and luxurious, do 
not dream of appearing at the rendezvous before 
ten a.m., and after a hard day's run are quite 
ready for a hearty dinner at eight p.m. 

Shooting parties are organised as follows ; — 
The gentlemen, habited in rough, thick coats, 
knickerbockers, thick stockings and leggings, and 
substantial boots, start, after a hearty breakfast, 
with dogs and keepers to shoot grouse, partridge, 
or pheasant, as the case may be. Some convenient 
place is appointed whereat to meet for luncheon, 
and to this spot the ladies of the household often 
repair, and a very pleasant hour is spent in dis- 
cussing game-pie, patties, and cold beef, beer, and 
champagne, at these alfresco luncheons. After an 
hour's chat, and the consumption of a cigar or so, 
the gentlemen resume their work of destruction, 
and the ladies either watch them at a respectful 
distance or drive homewards. If they choose the 

Field Sports and Amusements. 199 

former alternative, they should take great care not 
to wander away. On a moor there is not so much 
danger of accidents happening in this way, but 
when pheasant-shooting is the sport we think that 
ladies are better out of the way, unless they are 
very tractable, and obediently follow close on the 
track of the sportsmen. 

" Fishing, and particularly that branch of it 
called angling, calls forth considerable powers of 
invention and much dexterity of practice," says the 
"Angler's Guide." Every year the number of 
lady-anglers increases, and some of the best re- 
cords -in salmon-fishing on the Scotch rivers are 
annually made by women. A kilt skirt of rough 
tweed unhemmed, and reaching a little below the 
knee, over a pair of tweed knickerbockers to 
match, a Norfolk jacket with plenty of pockets, 
ribbed wobllen stockings, stout low-heeled shoes, 
and a deerstalker cap, form the best and most work- 
manlike costume for a woman to go fishing in. 

Fishing parties on the banks of some broad, 
deep, well-stocked river, where the fish are not too 
sensitive to the chatter and laughter of the anglers, 
may be made very enjoyable. ■ A man should be 
taken for the purpose of baiting the hooks and 
taking off the fish when caught. Then, if the sport 
is good, the hours fly quickly and pleasantly by. 
Luncheon is brought, and if a fire can be made, 
and some of the freshly-caught fish cooked, the en- 
tertainment is complete. The gentlemen of the 
party should always be ready to lay down their 
rods and render help to any lady who may require 
it — ^in the matter of disentangling lines, re-arranging 
floats, putting together rods. 

In boating, gentlemen should always attend to 


2 CO Good Society. 

the comfort as well as the safety of ladies who 
may place themselves under their protection. One 
gentleman should stay in the boat and do his best 
to steady it, while the other helps the ladies to step 
from the bank. They should then be comfortably 
seated, and their dresses arranged so as to be in 
no danger of getting wet, before a start is made. 
As the seat of honour in a boat is that occupied 
by the stroke oar, it is etiquette for the owner of 
the boat to offer it to his friend should he be a 

Cycling is a much more modern pastime than 
those hitherto mentioned. It is an amusement 
the fashion for which has ebbed and flowed during 
the last ten years. Latterly, the various superior 
inventions amongst the machines which have been 
brought forward have fanned the flame of en- 
thusiasm, and cycling has become one of the chief 
diversions of the day, and one in which ladies now 
join. A medical authority of high standing gives 
it as his opinion that exercise of this kind is equally 
beneficial to both sexes, and expresses a hope that 
this amusement will soon become as popular 
among ladies as tennis and the dance. A lady's 
tricycling dress consists of a plain skirt, made 
sufficiently wide to allow the feet free play without 
causing them to draw up the dress by their action, 
and yet not so wide as to permit the skirt to hang 
in folds or flap in the wind. A Norfolk jacket, 
made to fit neatly but not tightly to the figure, 
cut low round the throat to allow the neck free 
action. Both skirt and jacket should be made of 
a woollen material, and one that is porous and of 
light weight A soft silk handkerchief is worn 
round the neck, which will hide the absence of 

Field Sports and Amusements, 201 

collar and brooch. Shoes, having firm but not 
heavy soles, and a close-fitting soft hat made of the 
same material as the dress, complete the costume. 
The dress for a gentleman is knickerbockers, and 
a short coat buttoned up the front ; stockings 
ribbed, and knitted of thick wool; shoes with 
stout soles ; a cap with peaks at the front and 
back, made, like the suit, of porous woollen ma- 
terial, or an ordinary straw hat. A light silk hand- 
kerchief loosely tied round the neck should take 
the place of a stiff collar and tie. 

stating is another amusement in which ladies 
join, and which in some parts of the country is 
looked forward to as a delightful certainty. A 
temperature below zero is hailed with delight, and 
the belles and the beaux alike hasten to " visit the 
icy scenes, and mock the terrors of the frost." In 
days of yore the maidens contented themselves with 
watching the skaters, but now they are as fleet as any 
Laplander or Hollander. " When the greate fenne 
or moore is frozen," says an old chronicler, de- 
scribing a skating-scene in the vicinity of London, 
" many younge men play on the yce. Some stryd- 
ing as wide as they may, doe slide swiftly. Some 
tye bones to their feete and under their heeles, and, 
shoving themselves by a Httle picked staffe, do 
slide as swiftly as a birde flyeth in the air or an 
arrow out of a crosse bow." A gentleman should 
carry the lady's skates if he be her walking com- 
panion. He will find her a chair, and fasten on 
her skates ; guide, support, and instruct her at first 
if she be a novice in the art ; and, in short, be as 
chivalrous in his behaviour as any knight in the 
olden time. The ladies, on their side, must not 
tax the patience of their instructors too severely. 

202 Good Society. 

It is sometimes days before they are able to stand 
upon their skates or dare to venture without a 
strong arm to lean upon for fear of a fall. Let 
them practise by themselves on some small pond, 
where a tumble will hurt neither them nor their 
modesty. • 



St. James's and Buckingham Palaces — Who may be Pre- 
sented — Ladies' Court Dress — Gentlemen's Court Dress 
— Rules and Regulations — The Drawing-Room — The 
Levee — The Irish Court— Court Mourning. 

let me kiss my Sovereign's hand, 

And bow my knee before his majesty." 

Richard II, 

" 2nd Gentleman — You saw the ceremony ? 
jr^.— That I did. 
I St. — How was it ? 
jrd. — Well worth seeing. 
2«rf.— Good Sir, speak it to us. 
3rd. — As well as I am able." 

Henry VIII. 

The extreme formality of Court etiquette, and the 
strict observance which must be paid to all its 
rules, will of necessity render this chapter of in- 
formation regarding it a very precise and formal 

The Queen now holds her drawing-rooms and 
levees at Buckingham Palace, the State apartments 
there being more spacious than those at St. James's 
Palace, where they were formerly held. Levees 
are still held at St. James's Palace by the Prince 
of Wales. This palace was originally a hospital 
for lepers. It was purchased by Henry VI IL, 

204 Good Society. 

who altered it, and made it as it now stands. 
After the destruction of the Palace of Whitehall, in 
1695, St. James's became the town residence of 
our Sovereigns, and continued to be so up to the 
accession of our Queen in 1837, when the Court 
took up its abode at Buckingham Palace. 

Ladies and gentlemen who wish to be presented 
to their Sovereign at a drawing-room or levde can 
only obtain the honour through one of their ac- 
quaintances who has previously been presented. 
It will be seen by the Lord Chamberlain's Regula- 
tions that the one who presents must also appear 
at Court as well as the one presented ; so that this 
rule, together with other reasons, which may be 
easily divined, makes it a matter of delicacy for one 
person to ask the favour of another, unless they 
are relatives or very intimate friends. Her Majesty 
is graciously accessible to all persons of rank and 
title, provided they bear a good character in society ; 
but it would be in vain for any lady to sue for 
admittance into the Courtly circle, however high 
her rank, if there were the least stain upon her 
reputation. The wives and daughters of the clergy, 
naval and military officers, of physicians, barristers, 
and bankers, may also be presented, provided their 
conduct is sans reproche. 

The dress worn on these occasions, both by the 
ladies and gentlemen, has quite a distinctive fea- 
ture of its own, and therefore the descriptions are 
placed in this chapter instead of that headed " The 
Toilet." The Court dress of the lady consists of 
petticoat, bodice, and train. The petticoat is of 
silk, with tulle or lace trimmings, made long, and 
is in reality like the skirt of an ordinary ball dress. 
The bodice, which is made quite low, w^ith short 

The Court. 205 

sleeves, and of ihe same material as the petticoat, 
is trimmed to match that garment. The train is 
of great length and breadth, and is worn falling 
either from the waist or shoulders. It is made of 
a more costly and handsome material than the 
other part of the dress ; velvet or satin is chosen, 
and it is trimmed with lace, and feathers or flowers 
to correspond. The head-dress consists of feathers 
and lace lappets, or a veil of white tulle, and the 
hair is ornamented with diamonds or other pre- 
cious stones. The other portions of the costume — 
the shoes, the fan, and the gloves, which must be 
white — should all be consistent with " full dress. *' 

As to the Court dress of the gentlemen, that 
which came to us in the days of the early Georges, 
the costume of Louis Quinze, remains for the most 
part as the Court dress of to-day. 

This dress — which retains the main feature of 
the period of 1700 — consists of coat and knee- 
breeches of plum-coloured cloth, ornamented with 
steel buttons ; a white waistcoat, embroidered in 
colours; an elaborately frilled shirt; pink silk 
stockings ; shoes with diamond or steel buckles ; 
and a sword, which hangs suspended by a steel 
chain to the hilt. Lastly comes the cocked hat, 
and the outer man is complete. 

Various attempts have been made to discard 
this dress, and of late years a newer style has been 
substituted, and instead of the plum-coloured cloth 
some gentlemen wear black silk velvet coat, 
breeches, and waistcoat, ornamented with gilt or 
silver buttons, with which the shoe-buckles and 
sword correspond. Naval and military men appear 
in their uniforms, bishops and dignitaries of the 
Church in their robes. 

2o6 Good Society, 


By her Majesty's command. — The ladies who 
propose to attend her Majesty's drawing-room at 
Buckingham Palace are requested to bring with 
them two large cards, with their names clearly 
written thereon ; one to be left with the Queen's 
page in attendance in the corridor, and the other 
to be delivered to the Lord Chamberlain, who will 
announce the name to the Queen. 


Any lady who proposes to be presented must 
leave at the Lord Chamberlain's office, St. James's 
Palace, before twelve o'clock, two clear days pre- 
vious to that on which the drawing-room is held, 
a card with her name written thereon, and one with 
the name of the lady by whom she is to be pre- 
sented. In order to carry out the existing regula- 
tion, that no presentation can be made at a draw- 
ing-room excepting by a lady actually attending 
the Court, it is also necessary that an intimation 
from the lady who is to make the presentation of 
her intention to be present should accompany the 
presentation card above referred to, which will be 
submitted to the Queen for her Majesty's ap- 
probation. It is her Majesty's command that 
no presentation shall be made at the drawing- 
room except in accordance with the above regula- 

It is particularly requested that in every case the 
names be very distinctly written upon the cards to 
be delivered to the Lord Chamberlain, in order 

The Court, 207 

that there may be no difficulty in announcing them 
to the Queen. 

It is not expected that gentlemen will present 
themselves at drawing-rooms, except in attendance 
upon the ladies of their families. 

Any gentleman who, under these circumstances, 
should desire to be presented to the Queen wiil 
observe the same regulations as are in force for 
her Majesty's levies. 

The State apartments will be open for the recep- 
tion of the company coming to Court at two 

These regulations apply equally to gentlemfen 
and ladies. Directions at what gate to enter, and 
where the carriages are to set down, are always 
printed in the newspapers. 

The ceremony of presentation is as follows : — 

On getting out of the carriage, everything in 
the shape of shawl or cloak is left behind. The 
train is carried over the left arm. When the lady's 
turn for presentation comes, she proceeds to the 
Presence Chamber or Throne Room, and on enter- 
ing it lets down the train, which is instantly spread 
out by the lords-in- waiting with their wands. 
The card on which the lady's name is written 
is then handed to the Lord Chamberlain, who 
reads the name aloud to the Queen. The lady 
advances to the Queen, and when she arrives 
just before her Majesty curtseys very low, so low 
as almost to kneel to the Queen, who, if the lady 
presented be a peeress or a peer's daughter, kisses 
her forehead ; but, in the case of a commoner, her 
Majesty holds out her hand to be kissed by the 
lady presented. The lady then rises, and making 
a curtsey to any members of the Royal Family who 

2o8 Good Society. 

may be present, passes on, keeping her face towards 
the Queen, until she has passed out of the door 
appointed for those leaving the Presence Chamber. 

The ceremony for gentlemen attending the 
Queen's lev^e is the same, with the exception that 
they kneel down on one knee on arriving before 
her Majesty, and kiss her hand. At levies held by 
the Prince of Wales the gentlemen bow and retire. 

Presentations at the Irish Court differ in a few 
particulars of ceremony from those made at the 
English Court. Levies are held at the same time, 
but drawing-rooms take place in the evening at 
nine o'clock. 

The same style of dress is required. The train 
is carried over the arm until the wearer reaches the 
Presence Chamber, when an aide-de-camp arranges 
the train. If the lady is presented^ the Lord-Lieu- 
tenant kisses her cheek ; she makes a curtsey and 
retires, but not backwards. If she is only attending 
the drawing-room, she curtseys and passes on. 

The gentlemen attending the Lord-Lieutenant*s 
levee bow on being presented. If any of those 
attending the drawing-room or levee are intimate 
with the Lord-Lieutenant, he shakes hands with 

National mourning is ordered when a king or 
queen dies. The whole country is expected to 
show their respect in that way ; but only black is 
required. The material is not specified, and crape 
is not worn. Until the present century, Court 
mourning for a king or queen in England was worn 
for a whole year as if for a parent. When the 
Court is ordered into mourning, on the death of 
any member or connection of the Royal Family, 
the dress required (which is generally of silk), anc} 

The Court. 209 

the length of time it is to be worn (usually three 
weeks), is published in the newspapers. "For 
the encouragement of our English silks/' says a 
chronicler of Queen Anne's day, " his Royal High- 
ness the Prince of Denmark and the nobility appear 
in mourning hatbands made of that silk, to bring 
the same into fashion, in the place of crapes, which 
are made in the Pope's couhtry, whither we send 
our money for them." 





Things to lie done immediately upon a Death — Old Customs 
— The Funeral — The Mourners — The Service — Reading 
of the Will — Inquiries by Friends — Acknowledgment — 
The Sunday after the Funeral — Monuments. 

" The glories of our birth and state 
Are shadows, not substantial things. 
There is no armour against fate ; 
Death lays his icy hand on kings. 
Sceptre and crown 
Must tumble down, 
And in the dust be equal made 
With the poor crooked scythe and spade." 

/. Shirley, 1620. 

The " end of all things " is death. That stern 
reaper cuts down alike the bearded grain and the 
flowers that grow between. With his keen sickle 
he lays low old and young, the king and the 
peasant. All fall lifeless before him, and "their 
years come to an end as it were a tale that is told.*' 
When the dread moment has come and the spirit 
has taken its flight, some relative or friend under- 
takes to perform the necessary offices. 

The coffin should be ordered without delay. 
It should be made of plain elm or oak, and 
lined with white jean. All the black, heathenish 
furniture with which cofllins are often defaced 

Death, 211 

should be discarded. The handles should either 
be plain rings of galvanised iron or of brass. At 
the lower end of the lid should be a white metal or 
brass plate, with the name, age, and date of death 
of the deceased. 

Another immediate duty is to write to all rela- 
tions and intimate friends and inform them of the 
death, and to send a notice of it for insertion in 
newspapers. This must be prepaid. The charge 
for such notice varies in different papers. 

The arrangements for the funeral are generally 
directed by the head of the family, who expresses 
his wishes to an undertaker, and leaves the superin- 
tendence of the minor details in his hands. The 
love of parade and show which used to attend even 
these sad ceremonials has in a very great measure 
been put down by good taste ; but it is advisable 
to be particularly explicit on that point, or the 
undertakers may carry out their ideas, which are too 
frequently for ostentatious display and the very 
reverse of simplicity. 

Until very recently, it has been the general 
custom to supply crape scarfs and long crape hat- 
bands to the mourners, and silk scarfs and hat- 
bands, as well as gloves, to the friends, officiating 
clergymen, and bearers. At funerals of children 
and young girls, these scarfs were either of white 
silk, or of black silk tied with white ribbon. These 
special habiliments are now very rarely exhibited, 
and are rapidly falling into disuse. 

About a hundred years ago the practice of laying 
the dead in state was very general, not for kings and 
great personages alone, but the bodies of merchants 
and tradesmen were also laid out amidst black 
velvet hangings. The coffin was surrounded by 

212 Good SocfETV. 

lighted candles, the doors of the houses were thrown 
operii and for several days the neighbours and 
general public were allowed to pass in and out to 
look at the corpse. Then after the funeral came 
the feast — for so the meal was called— of which all 
who had attended the funeral partook. Great 
numbers of friends and acquaintances were invited, 
sometimes as many as sixty or eighty to an ordinary 
funeral. Amongst the poor, the viands distributed 
at these feasts were cake and cheese, stewed prunes, 
and cold possets. The higher classes sat down to 
a dinner, which very often took place at an hotel. 

There are many other customs which seem 
strange indeed to us now, and yet were in use in 
the last century, such as placing a plate of salt on 
the dead — salt being the emblem of eternity and 
immortality — carrying garlands of artificial flowers, 
intermixed with gilded empty egg-shells — emblems, 
it may be, of the hollowness of this life — before the 
funeral procession, and which were then hung in 
some conspicuous part of the church ; placing an 
hour-glass inside the coffin ; and one other singular 
custom, which, although savouring strongly of 
heathenish superstition, was observed in some 
nooks of England until quite lately, and that was 
as follows :— Poor people were hired to take upon 
them the sins of the deceased. When the corpse 
was brought out of the house and laid upon the 
bier, a loaf of bread, a mazard bowl full of beer, and 
a piece of money were delivered over the coffin to 
the sin-eater, who, in consideration of these gifts, 
took upon himself, ipso factOy all the sins of the 
defunct, and freed him or her from walking after 
death. Time has swept all these superstitious 
observances almost entirely away. 

Death. 213 

Hitherto it has not been usual for any of the 
female members of the family to attend the funeral, 
but if they feel strong enough, and can keep their 
grief within due bounds, let not the thought of 
what is customary prevent them from following their 
lost one to the grave, and from having the consola- 
tion of that most beautiful service of the Church for 
the burial of the dead. The dress of the chief 
mourners is, for ladies, woollen materials trimmed 
with crape — these are the only two materials worn 
at a funeral; and for gentlemen, black suits and 
ties, black kid gloves, and a band of black cloth 
round the hat. 

At the time appointed, which is generally in the 
morning hours, those who are invited to attend the 
funeral proceed to the house. The invitations 
usually extend only to the particular friends of the 
deceased, and the family doctor and lawyer. 

They assemble in the dining-room or librar)', 
when the undertaker gives a pair of gloves to each 
on his arrival. The ladies of the house do not 
appear until the mournful procession is ready to 
start, when they go direct from their own rooms to 
the mourning-coaches which are appointed to con- 
vey them. The nearest relatives of the deceased 
or representatives of the family follow, according to 
their degrees of kinship, next to the hearse, then 
the more distant ones, then friends, and often the 
procession is completed by the empty and closed 
carriages of acquaintances who are desirous to show 
their respect to the deceased and the bereaved 
family. The coffin is carried into the church and 
placed in the chancel. The funeral party have seats 
allotted to them in the same part. When the first 
part of the service is concluded, the clergyman 

214 Good Society, 

proceeds to the grave, followed by the bearers and 
the mourners in the same order as they entered the 
church. When the last sad rite is ended, the group 
breaks up and disperses irregularly. The head of 
the family or its representative goes to the vestry to 
give the clergyman the particulars as to name and 
age, necessary for the filling up of the register, and 
also to pay the fees. The nominal fees differ in each 
parish. The expense of the grave depends upon 
whether a vault has been made, or whether it is a 
new grave. In reality, no fees are due of common 
right to the clergyman, but the immemorial custom 
of each parish has sanctioned the payment, so that 
they are always demanded. Three or four shillings 
is the stated fee, but well-to-do people generally give 
a piece of gold. We have here taken the Church of 
England service as our example. Other religious 
denominations have other rites, though the burial 
service of the Church is most generally used by 
all sects ; but, however that may be, all the social 
observances would be the same in every case. 
Only the family party return to the house. The 
will is then read in the presence of them all by the 
family lawyer. 

A few years ago it was the custom for all who 
had attended the funeral to assemble on the fol- 
lowing Sunday and appear in church, wearing scarfs 
and hatbands as on the day of the funeral. Pews 
were set aside for them, so that they might all be 
seated in a body. Now there is no ceremony of 
that kind. The family go, and the officiating 
clergyman wears a scarf over his surplice if one has 
been given to him, but no display is made. 

Friends and acquaintances express their sym- 
pathy after the funeral by leaving or sending their 

i>EATH, 215 

cards, on which they wriie, underneath their name, 
" With kind inquiries." When the family feel able 
to receive callers, they acknowledge these cour- 
tesies in a formal manner by sending printed cards, 
such as this : — 

Mrs. Wilson 

returns thanks for 

Mrs. Abbott's 

kind inquiries. 

A few words must be said about the monuments 
placed in the churches, and of the graves themselves 
in the churchyard or cemetery. Ofttimes the affec- 
tion of those left behind is at a loss for means 
wherewith to display its wonted solicitude, and 
seeks consolation under sorrow in doing honour to 
all that remains — the silent grave. It is only 
natural ** that filial piety, parental tenderness, and 
conjugal love should mark with some fond memo- 
rial the clay-cold spot where the form, still fostered 
in the bosom, moulders away." And did affection 
go no further, who could censure? The wish of 
Pope, that when he died not a stone might tell 
where he lay, is a wish that would be granted witli 
extreme reluctance. Though there is a classical 
simplicity in the turf-clad heap of mould, yet 
we would fain have something lasting, that 
will be there, as we say, "for ever," something 
to keep the spot from the common tread, and 
the name green in the memory. So be it. Only, 
let the record be a simple, unaffected one; do 
not let vanity lead to an excess, sometimes, sad 
to say, perfectly ludicrous. It may be said that 
these things are out of date, that the good taste 

2i6 Good Society. 

of the nineteenth century forbids and has put 
down all eulogiums, senseless rhymes, and doggerel 
on gravestones. Not altogether. Pride, weakness, 
and vanity still fight for display. Within the last two 
or three years a monument has been placed in one 
of the churches of a most learned and ancient city, 
which records the fact, amongst other details, that 
the deceased was "the largest single-handed brewer 
out of London"! A marble monument, however 
fine the sculpture and costly the material, with an 
inscription such as this, is far more offensive and 
outrageous to true taste than the wooden memorial 
of the ignorant rustic, sculptured with painted bones 
and decked with death's-heads in all the colours of 
the rainbow. " It is better that the passer-by, 
when he sees a name, should recollect the virtues 
of its owner, than that his remarks should be antici- 
pated by an obtruding narrative." 

•* The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r, 

And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave. 
Await alike the inevitable hour — 
The paths of glory lead but to the grave." 




Affectation, Excessive, to be avoided 39 

Amateur Acting ... 176 

Apologising, Excessive, to be avoided 39 

Attentions, Gentlemen's, to Ladies 4i» 42 


Balls, Cloak Rooms at ... ... 172 

, Decorations at ... ... ... ... 171 

, Drawing-rooms at .. . ... 172 

, Duties of Entertainers to Guests at 173 

, Duties of Partners at ... 174 

, Duties of Stewards at Public 166 

— , Fancy Dress ... ... ... ... 167 

, Introductions at Public 167 

■ . i_<igiiis at ••• ... ... ... ••• ... •/* 

, Management of Public ... ... ... ... i66' 

, Music at ... ... ... ... ... ... 170 

, Private ... ... ••• ••• • • ••• 168 

• , Rooms necessary for 168 

, Seasons for J64 

— — , Tea Rooms at ^73 

, Tickets for Public ... 166 

Banns, To be Married by 97 

Baptism, Private 28 

, Public 28 

Birth, Modem Customs on the occasion of a 27 

, Old Custom on the occasion of a 25 

Boating ... ... ... ... ... ... ••• 199 

Bowing, Different Modes of ... 43 

Breakfast, Arrangement of the Table for 118 

— — , Dishes for, at different Seasons 121,122 




Breakfast, French 

... 119 

, Hunt and Sportsmen's 

... 120 

in the Olden Time ... 

... 116 

in the Present Day 


, Wedding 

... 119 

, What to serve for 

... 118 

Bride, Bridegroom's Presents to a 

... 99 

, Costume of a 

82, 83 

Bridegroom, Gentle man'.s Dress as a 

... 86 

Bridesmaids ..; 

... 95 

, Bridegroom's Presents to the 

... 99 

, Costume of .. . 



Cake an 1 Wine 

... 68 

Ca U, Length of a formal ... 


Calling, Use of 

62, 63 

Calls, Ceremonies of ... 


, Style of Dress when paying 

78, 79 

, When they should be paid 

63, 64 

Cards, How to leave 

. ... 64 

, M'^ern 

. ... 6s 

, When to send 

. ... 65 

v/arving ••• •«• ••• ••. .•• 


Ceremony, Extreme, to be avoided 

36, 37 

Chapel, To be Mirried at a Licensed ... 

... 97 

Chaperons, Dress of .;. 


v^naracies ••• ... •>• >•. ... • 


Christening, Ceremony of 


, Entertainment given on day of . . . 


y 1l ww9 lUi ••• ••• •• ••# • 



29, 30 

, Style of Dress appropriate for 


Churching, The rite of 


Coffee, After Dinner 




, Age required for 


, Ceremony of 


, Dress necessary for 


, Preparation for 


Conversation, Remarks on 

45, 46 

Index, 219 


Cookery, Good ... ... ... ... ... ... 133 

Courtship, Etiquette of 93» 95 

Court, Buckingham Palace ,. ... 203 

— —, Gentlemen's Dress at 205 

, Ladies' Dress at .. 204 

, Who may be presented at 204 

Mourning 208,209 

" y A 1 Id 11 ••• ••• ■•• ••• ••• ••• ^vO 


Dancers, Good and bad 169, 170 

Dances, Modem fashionable 165 

Dancing, Styles of 165 

Death, Old Customs on the occurrence, of a ... 211, 212 

, Things to be done immediately on a ... 210, 211 

Dessert, The ... 144 

VAxiWtx a la Russe 136 

, Arrival of Guests to 139 

, Coffee after 145 

, Customs of Wine-taking at 142 

, Departure after a .-. ... 145 

enfamille 141, 145 

, Going in to... ... ... ... ... ... 140 

, Retirement of the Ladies from 145 

, Secrets of a Successful 129 

Table, Appointments and Decorations for ... 137 

, Tea after ... ... ... ... ... ... 146 

, When to issue Invitations for a 135 

-, Whom to invite to 135 

Question, The ... 128 

Tables of last Ten Centuries 1 29 — 13 1 

Dinners for Different Seasons 146 — 153 

Drawing-room, Rules to be observed at the Queen's 206, 207 

Dress, Ball 82 

, Dinner ... ... ... ... ... ... 81 

, Gentlemen's, in former Days 85, 87 

, Gentlemen's, in Modem Times 87 

, Ladies' Morning ... ... ... ... ... 81 

, Lawn Tennis 80 

- — , Neatness in 76 



Dress, Suitability ia 

, Tricycling ... 

, Yichting ... 

(Court), Gentlemen^s 

, Ladies 






Eating and Drinking 

English, Foreigner's opinion of the 
Etiquette, Origin of the Word ... 


Familiarity, Excessive, to be avoided ... 
Family, Royal, How to Address the ... 
Father-in-law, Interview with the 

Field Sports 


Fun in the Last Century 

x^ uHw* aIS ••• ••• ■•• ••• ••• 

, Church Service at 

, Expression of Sympathy after 

, Sunday after 


Garden Parties, Gentlemen's Dress at . . . 

, Ladies' Dress at 

Gentleman, Characteristics of a 

, Definition of a 

, Thackeray's Definition of a 

Gentlemen, Different Classes of the order of 

Gloves, When to Wear 

God-parents, C hoice of 


Hand, Different Modes of Shaking the 

Head-dress, a Gentleman's 

Heraldry ... 

Honour, Titles of 

House, Conduct when Staying in a Friend's 

... 38 

... 3*5 


... 194 



... 210 

... 213 

211, 213 

... 214 

... 214 




28, 29 

20, 21 

•• 7« 



House, Furniture of a ... 


, Gentlemen's Dress for 

, Ladies* Dress for ... 


io8— III 


... 197 

... 197 

Inquiries, Acknowledgments for, on a Death 

Introduction, Laws of 

, Letters of . . . 

Invitations, Forms of 

. 215 




Jewellery, Gentlemen's .. 
, Ladies' 

» • • • • • 

• » • • • • 

• » • • • • 



Kissing, Foreigners' Remarks on English 

• • • • ■ • 


Lady, Definition of a 

Language, Ruskin's Remarks on 
Laughter ... 

Lawn Tennis ... ••• ••■ ••• 
Letter, Addison's Opinion on the Style of a 

, German Injunction on Writmg a 

' , How to Write a 

Letters, How to Write, to Strangers 
— — , Proper Terminations to 
Levee, Ceremony at the 
Licence, Special ... 

, Ordinary ... 

Luncheon, Definition of 

, Cold... 

, Hot ... 

, Manners at ... 

■^ — , ^hat to place on the Table 'or 

18, 19 














124. i?5 




Manager, A Good 
Manners, Dr. Johnson's , 
, Former French 

in Early Times 

, Mark of Good 

, Necessity of Good . 

of Last Century 

, Polished 

Married, Different Ways 

to Get 




, How Long to Wear 


Neatness in Dress 

• • • ■ • 

Nobiliiy, How to Address the 

• • 1 


107, 108 

... 9, 10 

... 36 

12, 13 

10, II 



215, 216 

... 213 

... 84 

... 85 


Paper and Envelopes, Different Kinds of 
Parties, Garden ... 

, Lawn Tennis ... 

, Dresses for Garden 

Party, Table Requisites for Entertaining a 
Picnics, Conveyance of Guests and Provisions 
, Election of Managers for 

, Provisions and Beverages at 

, Style of Dress for 

-, Subscription 

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108— III 

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48, 49 

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• L/diA ••• ••» ••■ •■• ••• 


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160, 161 

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160 — 162 

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62, 74 



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Will, Reading the 
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a Woman's 

to a 

•• 133 

44, 45 

•• 45 
103, 121 


... 99 

loi— 103 

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... 214 

.. 143 
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Our Holiday Hours. 

Albums for Children. 3s. 6d. each. 

Indoors and Out. 

Some Farm Friends. 

Wandering Ways. 

Dumb Friends. 

Those Golden Sands. 

Little Mothers ft their Chlldreih 

Our Pretty Pets. 

Our Sohoolday Hours. 

Creatures Tame. 

Creatures Wild. 

The Album for Home, SohooW 
and Play. Containing Stories by 
Popolar Authors. lUustrated. 

My Own Album of Animals. 
With Full-page IDustratioiis. 

Picture Album of All Sorts. 

Full-page Illustrations. 
The Chlt-Chat Album. 



StltcHent from Catsell 4 CemfiaH/i PjiiHtalitmt. 

'>WiuiUd-aK]iiK"Serica. IJluilnted. 31. U. each. 

Oramt Grandoaamma, By C«rgjna H- Synp. 

nruiud-BEiiiiifDr,aowiEs^>e'^Nan>Tr Bli^niH to BtflhlB. 
The W(^<ri^Mk^.™ A 's^^'^''''^"'"''^ ■'■'"""' Volumet 
- printed a 

Ubruy of Wandi 
cloih, IB. 6d. 

Caiiell'i Elehtccnpenny Stoiy BooVi. 

CsmpBeU iJiri Olydo. By E. C 

itcd Gift-booki for Boyi. Paper, 
I WoniJm^or Bodily atrmi 

■ull'i Eleb 

a Ddwo* of K DookBy^ 

Up \bja lAddar. 
lHok'« HVTD; Mil 
itw coup B<jr. 

Wonb mon thita 13»'d1iL 

out Books for Youni Ptople. Bv Populu Amhon. With Pour 
Origiiul IJInsmiioiu in encli. Cloin gill, im. 6d. eicli. 
Ths Boy Hasten of KantoidtT. ' IMpr Xonk'i Kolu. By ibs Rmv 

ByfdnrdS.EIhl. F. Llni«rtd[<, 

BhodB-1 BawsFdi a^ 'If FnltrTI'lali's^urpoae^ or, TM 

7*sk Xanlail^ JSSS^ _ Tim Ttanmion'a Trlul. u/ctgin 
TTt&^ l^»-B*tU>I or, Tk* Weilheilr- 

TllT«* Aduda. ' Urnolm'i StumbliDB-Sloclt. BtJ»11b 

MtUn. Br&HUliHtt. ^^ Goddird, 

Cuicll'* Two-Shming Story Boaks. 'nlu!|iliicr^ 

rtaa^iUdMn of Ol 
■Wd Madorr. 

Two TanTPOUT Bit 

Selections from Cassell % Comfany's Publications, 

Bound in 

Three Homes. 
Working to Win. 
Perila Afloat and 


Cheap Editions of Popular Volumes for Young: People. 
cloth, gilt edges, as. 6d. each. 

In Qiiestk of Ghold: or, irnder For Queen and King. 

the WhaUga Falls. Bather West, 

- On Board the Esmeralda; or, 

Martin Leigh's Log. 
The Bomanoe of Invention: 

Vignettes from the Annals 

of Industry and Soienoe, 

The "Deerfopt" Series. By Edward S. Ellis. With Four full-page 
Illustrations in each Book. Cloth, bevelled boards, as. 6d. each. 

The Hunters of the Oaark. I_ The Camp in the Mountains. 
Ihe Iiast War Trail. 

The "Log Cabin "Series. ' By Edward S. Ellis. With Four Full- 
page Illustrations in each. Crown 8vo, cloth, as. 6d. each. 

The Lost Trail. I Camp-Fire and Wigwam. 

Footprints in the Forest. 

The "Great River** Series. By Edward S. Ellis. 
Crown 8vo, cloth, bevelled boards, as. 6d. each. 

Down the Mississippi. I Iiost in the Wilda. 

Up the Tapajos ; or. Adventures in BrasiL 


The *• Boy Pioneer '* Series. By Edward S. Ellis. With Four Full- 
page Illustrations in each Book. Crown 8vo, cloth, as. 6d. each. 

Ned in the Woods. A Tale of 
Early Days in the West 
Ned in the Blook House. 

Ned on the Biver. A Tale of Indian 
River Warfare. 
Story of Pioneer Life in Kentucky. 

The "World in Pictures." Illustrated throughout, as. 6d. each. 

A Bamble Bound France. 
All the Bussias. 
Chats about GKermany. 
The Irfuid of the Pyramids 

Peeps into China. 

The Eastern Wonderland ( Japanl. 
Glimpses of South Amerioa. 
Hound Afrift*. 

The Ijand of Teiualea (India). 
The Isles of the Faoiflo. 

Half-Crown Story Books. 

Uttle Hinges. 

Margaret's Enemy. 

Pen's Perplexities. 

Notable dnipwreoks. 

GhoMen Days. 

Wonders of Common Things. 

Books for the Little Ones. 

Bhymes for the Toung Folk. 
By William Allingham. BeautifiiUy 
Illustrated. 3s. 6d. 

The History Sorap Book: With 
nearly i,oqo EngravingB. Cloth> 
7s. 6d. 

Truth will Out. ^ ^ ^ , 

Soldier and Patriot (Qoorge Waah< 

TheToung Man in the Battle of 

Iiife. By the Rev. Dr. Landels. 
At the South Pole. 

My IM^unr. ^th la Coloured Plates 
and gw Woodcuts. Is. 

The Sunday Sorap Book. Witli 
Sereral Hundred Illustrations. Paper 
boards. Ss. 6d. ; cloth, gilt edges. Os. 

The Old Fairy Tales. With Original 
lUostrations. Boards, Is.; cloth, 

GmhmU ft Company's Complete Catalogue will be sent post 

Jru on application to 


CASSELL £t COMPANY, Limited, Ludgmie HUl,